Florida School Hires 2 Combat Vets To Defend against Active Shooters

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

Charter School Security Guard Armed With Kel-Tec Rifle

Florida School Hires 2 Combat Vets To Defend against Active Shooters

“We’re not looking for a fair fight,” Bill Jones, the principal, said in an interview. “We’re looking at an overwhelming advantage.”

By the end of February, Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Fla. will have two combat veterans armed with Glock pistols, Semi-Automatic rifles, and outfitted with body armor roaming the halls of their school to protect against active shooters. This happens in the wake of the Parkland shooting that happened a year ago this week. Legislation passed after the Parkland massacre last year requires schools in Florida to have at least one “safe-school officer.” Manatee School for the Arts decided to hire two combat vets and equip them with rifles.

They are the only known stateside school to arm their security with rifles from my knowledge, although it is seen in some overseas schools. Their reasoning is that it is just a better weapon system. It provides for more accurate shot placement in potentially hectic environments. The higher velocity of the round would be much more effective at eliminating threats more quickly than the rounds coming out of a handgun. To assuage safety concerns about the high-powered weapons, the school requires its guardians to keep the chambers of their Kel-Tec RDB semiautomatic rifles empty, and the guns are not stored on campus.

They chose to hire combat veterans because they don’t want a potential school shooting incident to be the first time they have ever been shot at. Their logic is that these vets have experienced it before, so they will be able to respond more effectively if the need arise.

Some have brought up the fact that this cost, which will add up to about $200,000 for the 2018-2019 school year is a bit overkill for the relatively low amount of deaths caused by school shootings versus accidental injuries and deaths and suicides.

“Our mind-set is so locked into the rare but truly catastrophic active-shooter event,” Said Michael Dorn the executive director of Safe Havens International, which has performed security assessments at dozens of public school systems throughout Florida, including three of the state’s largest school districts. “On school property, students and school employees are more likely to die by suicide than a mass shooting.” he added.

Spending a lot of money to arm security officers addresses only one type of school safety concern, said Amanda Klinger, the director of operations at the Educator’s School Safety Network, an organization that trains educators and administrators in violence-prevention measures.

Time will tell if this investment pays off for Manatee School for the Arts, and if it is adopted in other schools around the country. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this is a good idea? Let us know in the comments!



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