After several school shootings have parents fearing for their children’s safety, a sheriff announced a new addition to every school in his county — and most citizens are cheering his decision.
As parents send their children to class each morning, they trust that the schools have policies in place to protect students. Unfortunately, history has shown that these safety features have repeatedly failed, despite districts’ best efforts to stave off the threat of violence with passive defense.
Anyone in law enforcement knows that stopping an armed and violent threat requires offensive tactics. That’s exactly why a North Carolina sheriff has announced plans to implement a combative protocol that has proven far more effective against active shooters.
WLOS reported that Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood announced the decision to place AR-15 rifles in every school under his jurisdiction. He explained that each school will have School Resources Officers (SROs) who are armed with standard handguns and that the rifles will be at the officers’ disposal in the event of an emergency.
“We’ve sometimes seen that having an armed deputy with a handgun isn’t enough to stop these animals,” explained Harwood. “That’s why I’ve decided to arm all my school resource officers with an AR-15 rifle.”
Harwood reiterated that the rifles will be stored in undisclosed locations on the school premises so that officers can access them within seconds. He says that all the rifles and accessories were purchased with donations by local residents.
“My SRO will not have to wait, retreat, or leave the situation to get the weaponry to deal with that threat,” said Harwood.
Madison County Schools Superintendent Will Hoffman further explained that the SROs will receive additional training for their role, WHNS reported. Live-streaming surveillance systems are also being implemented in the schools, he said.
“The Board of Education, the County Commission and the Madison County Sheriff have worked together to fund School Resource Officers in each of our schools. This has always been our highest safety priority. We have also worked to fund digital camera systems at each school, additional counseling, and social worker support at each school and site-based therapy to create safe school environments at each of our schools. We have now seen senseless school shootings over and over again across our nation. As superintendent of schools my highest priority is the safety and welfare of our students and staff. I believe in our School Resource Officers; they build strong relationships with students, and they are highly trained in the use of firearms and de-escalation strategies. They have my trust; the trust of our Board of Education and they have earned the public’s trust. They need to be able to take decisive action that includes all appropriate steps to neutralize an assailant, should a critical incident occur.”
Incredibly, most of the feedback the sheriff’s office and district have received has been positive. Of course, Harwood hopes to reassure parents that every resource will be exhausted to ensure that children and faculty are protected.
“God forbid that anyone come to our schools to cause harm,” said Harwood, “but if they do come to my schools, I want my resource officers to have the ability to meet violence with violence.”
While some parents are against the addition of armed officers and AR-15 rifles, most understand that the only defense proven effective against an armed threat is an armed law-abiding citizen.
Anti-gun activists have demanded a remedy to school shootings but have never suggested a realistic and effective answer. Fortunately, Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood and the citizens who donated to this fund are coming up with a much better solution for the children.