February 9, 2023

Given the ongoing threat of mass shootings, a North Carolina county is installing high-powered AR-15-style rifles in every school for the upcoming school year — a complete departure from the weapons used in numerous mass killings in recent years. same.

Six schools in Madison County, a rural area north of Asheville, now store assault rifles and break-in kits in on-campus gun safes. The school will also deploy a Police School Resource Officer (SRO) internally for the next school year and install a panic button system.

Local officials say police’s failed response to mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas prompted them to take extra steps

“I hate when our country gets to a place where I have to put a safe in the school and lock that safe so my deputy can get the AR-15. But, we can shut it off and say it won’t happen to Maddie County, but we never know,” Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the asheville civic times“I want parents in Madison County to know that we will take all necessary steps to keep our children safe in this school system. If my parents as a whole want me to stand at that door and put that AR tied around that officer’s neck, then I’ll 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, someone is shot, someone is stabbed, someone is murdered, someone is raped,” he said on the accompanying Facebook. video“We live in a rural county in western North Carolina, but even in our rural county, we have to be prepared in case the enemy tries to break in and destroy our children.”

some local residents help fund New plans, but not everyone is happy with the decision to put guns in schools.

“It’s called strengthening schools,” says Dorothy Espelage, professor of education at the University of North Carolina tell WLOS. “What’s going to happen is, there’s going to be accidents with these guns. It’s just the presence of the SRO that increases violence in schools.”

as independent Have reportin the wake of Uvalde, school districts across the country have been calling for more and better-equipped police on campuses, despite research showing that armed police do little to stop school shootings and often single out students of color for enforcement Violence and arrests.

“Given that this is some of the reasons and reasons why many schools use police, this may be one of the disappointing gains, and a very important one,” said Professor F Chris Curran, director of the Center for Educational Policy Research at the University of Florida. independent“In some ways it resonates with the anecdotes we know. You can look at Parkland, Florida. They have an SRO at the school and it doesn’t stop and doesn’t effectively stop the perpetrators from taking a lot of life.”

Still, states across the country are deploying more police in schools and arming teachers.

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

In Ohio, a new law allowing teachers to carry weapons with less than 24 hours of training has been criticized by some law enforcement groups.

“For us, it was outrageous,” said Michael Weinman, director of government affairs for the Ohio Fraternity of Police, Ohio’s largest law enforcement organization. Tell New York Times in July.

Following the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, the state required armed personnel on all school grounds, which could include law enforcement or school staff.

In Texas, at least one-third of schools are actively involved in a security initiative that allows staff to serve as armed guards.

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