October 4, 2022

Concerned about the continuing threat of mass shootings, a North Carolina county is putting high-powered AR-15-style rifles in every school for the next school year — the very same weapon used in numerous mass killings in recent years.

The six schools in Madison County, a rural area north of Asheville, will now have the assault rifles stored on campus in gun safes, along with room-breaking tools. The schools will also deploy a police resource officer (SRO) for the next school year and install a panic button system.

Local officials say the botched police response to the shooting at the Uvalde Mass School in Texas has inspired them to take extra action

“I hate that we’ve gotten to a place in our country where I have to put a safe in our schools and lock it up for my deputies to be able to get an AR-15. But, we can shut it down and say it won’t happen in Madison County, but we never know,” Sheriff Buddy Harwood he told the Asheville Citizen-Times. “I want the parents of Madison County to know that we will take every measure necessary to ensure that our children are safe in this school system. If my parents, as a whole, want me standing in that doorway with that AR strapped around the officer’s neck, then I’m going to do whatever my parents as a whole want to do to keep our kids safe.”

The sheriff announced the initiative in June.

“Every day you turn on the TV and someone has been shot, someone has been stabbed, someone has been murdered, raped,” he said in an accompanying Facebook post. video. “We live in Western North Carolina, a rural county, but we must be prepared even in our provinces for the enemy when he tries to come in and destroy our children.”

Some local residents assisted funding the new program, but not everyone is happy with the decision to put guns in schools.

“It’s called school hardening,” University of North Carolina education professor Dorothy Espelage he told WLOS. “What’s going to happen is we’re going to have accidents with these weapons. Only the presence of an SRO increases school violence.”

As The independent he’s got mentiontedschool districts across the country have called for more, better-armed police on campus after Uvalde, even though research shows armed officers do little to stop school shootings and often single out students of color for violence and arrest.

“This is one of the perhaps disappointing and very important findings, given that this is one of the reasons and why many schools use police,” said Professor F Chris Curran, director of the Center for Education Policy Research at the University of Florida. The independent. “In some ways, it resonates with what we know anecdotally. You can see Parkland right here in Florida. They had an SRO at the school and that did not deter or effectively stop the perpetrator from taking many lives.”

However, states across the country are putting more police in schools, as well as arming teachers.

At least 29 states allow non-police officers to carry guns on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Ohio, a new law allows teachers to be armed with fewer than 24 hours of instruction, a provision that has been criticized by some law enforcement groups.

“This, to us, is just outrageous,” said Michael Weinman, director of government affairs for the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, the state’s largest law enforcement agency. he said The New York Times on July.

After the 2018 Parkland shooting in Florida, the state required armed personnel on all school grounds, a group that can include police officers or school staff.

In Texas, at least one-third of schools are active in a security initiative that allows staff to be armed guards.

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