A North Carolina school district is fed up with shootings in gun-free zones, and is hiring armed security guards to protect schoolchildren from unhinged gunmen like Nikolas Cruz.
“Henderson County has always been a sleepy little town,” school board chairwoman Amy Lynn Holt said (via News & Observer). “We have not felt like we’re threatened here. Well, we have to start acting like we’re threatened.”
Henderson County Sheriff said the school district is taking proactive measures because they want teachers to teach, and security staffers to protect school children.
“The consensus here from the Henderson County populace is that we need security people to do security,” McDonald said. “And we need teachers to be able to teach.”
Henderson County is taking a slightly different approach from neighboring Stanly County, which is hiring armed volunteers, not staff security officers.
The school board in Stanly County, N.C., unanimously approved a measure that would allow the Stanly County sheriff to hire armed volunteers to protect schools campuses. A pilot program will kick off at four elementary schools in April.
“We’ve sat back long enough letting the bad guys dictate how we go, how we act, how we even go to school or to work,” Sheriff George Burris told the News & Observer. “It’s time for us to take control.”
The volunteers will undergo extensive background checks and rigorous firearms training. Jeff James, the superintendent of the Stanly County school district, said he understands the concerns some parents might have about armed guards patrolling schools, but is more concerned about leaving school as soft targets for criminals.
“Unfortunately, the time has come where we have to protect even our elementary schools by putting boots on the ground,” James said.
While the idea of having armed security on school campuses might sound jarring, keep in mind that we have armed police patrolling airports, courthouses, our streets, and Hollywood awards shows. Why is protecting school campuses a lesser priority?
That’s the question many parents have asked in the wake of the Valentine’s Day massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida. There, the tragedy could have been mitigated had armed security done their job and engaged murderer Nicolas Cruz. Instead, the sheriff’s deputies idly stood outside the school building while Cruz gunned down defenseless students inside.
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