MARSHALL, NC –
When schools in a North Carolina county reopen later this month, new security measures will include stocking up on AR-15 rifles for use by school officials in the event of an attacker. active shooting.
Prompted by the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead in May, school officials and Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood placed one of the six guns. semi-automatic schools at each of the six schools in the county. Each gun will be locked inside a safe, Harwood said.
The North Carolina school district and the sheriff’s office are working together to increase security after the Uvalde shooting revealed systemic failures and “extremely poor decision-making,” resulting in more than an hour. chaos before the gunman was finally confronted and killed by law enforcement, according to a report written by an investigative committee from the Texas House of Representatives.
“Those officers were in that building for too long, and that suspect was able to get into that building, injuring and killing a lot of kids,” Harwood told the Asheville Citizen Times. “I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in case that happens.”
The idea of using the AR-15 in schools didn’t sit well with Dorothy Espelage, a UNC Chapel Hill professor in the School of Education, who has conducted decades of learning and research on school safety and student well-being. pupil.
“What’s going to happen is that we’re going to have an accident with these guns,” Espelage told WLOS-TV. Just the presence of the SRO increases violence in schools. There are more child arrests. Why do they have to have these AR-15s? It doesn’t make any sense. “
Will Hoffman, Superintendent of Madison County Schools, said school administrators have been meeting regularly with local law enforcement officials, including Harwood, to discuss updated safety measures.
Harwood said the district’s school personnel have trained with instructors from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.
Harwood said the safes where the AR-15 will be stored will also contain ammunition and barricades.
“We will have those tools to be able to break down that door if needed. I don’t want to have to run back to the car to get the AR, because that’s the time it takes. Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my boys to be as prepared as possible,” he said.
Schools are scheduled to reopen August 22, according to the Madison County Schools website.
While the optical ability of school administrators to handle the AR-15 in schools may be frustrating for some, Harwood said he believes it’s a necessary response.
“I hate that we go to a place in our country where I have to put a safe in our school and lock that safe so my deputies can get an AR- 15. However, we could turn it off and say it’s not going to happen in Madison County, but we never know,” Harwood said.