A North Carolina school system will place AR-15s in each school building this upcoming school year in a dramatic move meant to buff up school safety,
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office and school officials have decided to place the weapons in all six schools in the county when classes begin later this month in response to the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Each of the guns would be locked inside a safe, as well as extra ammunition and breaching tools, Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the Asheville Citizen-Times. He noted the delayed response by law enforcement to stop the attack on Robb Elementary School in May was a rationale for the measure.
“Those officers were in that building for so long, and that suspect was able to infiltrate that building and injure and kill so many kids,” Harwood told the newspaper. “I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in the event that happens.”
There will be school resource officers at each of the six schools, including the three elementary schools, according to the Citizen-Times.
Officers have been training with instructors from Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College, he said.
“The reason we put the breaching tools in the safes is that in the event we have someone barricaded in a door, we won’t have to wait on the fire department to get there,” Harwood told the outlet.
“We’ll have those tools to be able to breach that door if needed. I do not want to have to run back out to the car to grab an AR, because that’s time lost.
“Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be.”
Ahead of the Aug. 22 start of the school year, Madison County Superintendent Will Hoffman said school leaders have been meeting with local law enforcement to review various safety measures.
“I hate that we’ve come to a place in our nation where I’ve got to put a safe in our schools, and lock that safe up for my deputies to be able to acquire an AR-15,” Harwood told the Citizen-Times.
“But, we can shut it off and say it won’t happen in Madison County, but we never know. I want the parents of Madison County to know we’re going to take every measure necessary to ensure our kids are safe in this school system.
“If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at that door with that AR strapped around that officer’s neck, then I’m going to do whatever my parents want as a whole to keep our kids safe.”
With Post wires