Florida school hires ex-combat veterans to defend against potential armed shooter

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A school in Florida has reportedly hired a pair of former combat veterans to secure the school grounds in the event of an armed shooter coming on the premises. 

The Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Fla., responded to a law requiring schools to have at least one “safe school officer” by hiring guards who will carry a 9-millimeter Glock handgun and a semiautomatic rifle with a 17-inch barrel, according to The New York Times.

{mosads}The Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, which trained the guards, told the newspaper that the Manatee School for the Arts was the only school in the county to hire guards that would carry rifles. 

“We’re not looking for a fair fight,” Bill Jones, the principal, told the Times when talking about the possibility of an armed shooter arriving on school grounds. “We’re looking at an overwhelming advantage.”

Jones added that the school chose to hire combat veterans because he wanted guards who would not hesitate to use their weapon in the case of a shooting. 

“I don’t want this to be the first time they’ve had someone shooting at them,” he said, adding that a rifle is a more “effective” weapon than a handgun. 

Florida instituted a new law related to school safety last year in an effort to respond to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed a year ago this week.

The bill gave schools the option to hire either a school resource officer, a school safety officer or a school guardian, an employee of the school trained to thwart attacks. 

One of the guardians hired at Manatee School for the Arts has 15 years of infantry experience and has been with the school for a couple months. A second combat veteran is finishing his training and will begin working at the school this month, the Times noted.  

Manatee School for the Arts, a charter school with more than 2,000 middle and high school students, is also adding a guard shack to the entrance of the school. The school’s perimeter fencing is being raised by two feet as well.

Tags Florida school safety

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