School districts in urban Southern California and suburban Michigan are among a growing number of public school systems arming campus police with AR-15s and other high-powered weapons to protect students.
The 40,000-student Fontana Unified School District in California's San Bernardino County recently announced that it has paid $14,000 for 14 Colt 6940 rifles and distributed them to district police officers after they each received 40 hours of training. The purchase was approved in October, before the Dec. 14 Newtown shootings.
Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones and Mayor Acquanetta Warren supported the district's decision.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to have that, but it’s the best message we can send to anybody that thinks to harm our children,” Jones said. “The message we’re sending is: Not here, not now, we’re prepared for you. And if you seek to harm our children, we will neutralize that threat and you will most likely be killed.”
The Santa Ana Unified School District, in nearby Orange County, and the Los Angeles School Police Department also provide school district police officers with AR-15s, according to CBS News Los Angeles.
While the California school districts already armed their officers with automatic firearms before the Newtown shootings, two Michigan districts are either upgrading in firepower or pondering doing so in response to the massacre.
The Shelby Township Police Department is distributing rifles to officers patrolling Utica Community Schools and the Plainfield Police Department has informed the Plainfield School District that it wants officers working in schools to have access to AR-15 semi-automatic weapons.
“Unfortunately, in today’s society active shooter incidents are no longer something we see on TV,” Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said. “They are reality.”
According to Sign Of The Times (www.sott.net), there are at least 127 school districts across the country that have their own police departments. How many equip officers with high-powered firearms is uncertain.
“As far as the percentage of school police departments that have them, we’re seeing a growing trend," Fontana's Jones said. "Unfortunately, we’re seeing a growing trend where they have to do this. It’s a sad thing for society that we have to have this type of fire power in our schools, but we can’t ignore that this is the society that we live in."
Perhaps the saddest indictment of them all is the fact that 127 -- and counting -- school districts nationwide feel compelled to have their own police forces, diverting money from education just to safeguard students.
For more, go to:
-- Fontana School PD Purchases 14 AR-15 Assault Weapons To Protect Students
-- Video: California School District Buys Semi-Automatic Weapons
-- CA School District Buys 14 Military-Grade Weapons to Defend Against Shootings
-- Kalifornia School District Buys Ar15 "assault Weapons"
-- Assault rifles at Calif. school get mixed reviews
-- LA School PD Has ‘No Plans’ To Keep High-Powered Weapons On LAUSD Campuses
-- Cameras, high-powered rifles enter school security picture in Michigan
-- Should Police Officers in Schools Have Access to Rifles?
-- The US schools with their own police