Florida charter school becomes the first in the US to hire two military veterans and arm them with semi-automatic rifles and combat body armor so they can ‘put down’ an active shooter
- The Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto has hired two combat veterans who will carry semi-automatic rifles to patrol the grounds
- All schools in Florida were mandated to have armed security on campus following the Parkland high school massacre on February 14, 2018
- The arts school is a charter school so it can independently hire guards and arm them how they want
- The school is the first in the country to have a guard who wears a high-powered weapon during the school day
- Principal Bill Jones said he wants to make sure that if an active shooter was on campus that they would be ‘put down.’
A Florida charter school is enlisting the help of two military veterans and arming them with semi-automatic weapons in a bid to protect students if there was an active shooter on campus.
Principal Bill Jones has recruited the combat veterans who will patrol Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto with handguns and Kel-Tec RDB 17-inch semi-automatic long-guns, at all times.
They’ll also wear a combat body armor, different to what officers regularly wear.
The school is the first in the county to have a guard who wears a high-powered weapon during the school day, WTSP reported.
The combat veterans will patrol Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto with handguns and Kel-Tec RDB 17-inch semi-automatic long-guns, and be armed at all times
Jones says if an armed intruder walked onto the campus they would be met with overwhelming force.
‘If someone walks onto this campus, they’re going to be shot and killed,’ Jones said, as reported by The Bradenton Herald. ‘We’re not going to talk with them. We’re not going to negotiate. We are going to put them down, as quickly as possible.’
‘And certainly, the long gun gives you a better range,’ he added, making it clear that range was a significant factor in the decision making process.
Principal Bill Jones says if someone walks onto the campus armed they will be ‘shot and killed’
The first guard has been on campus for a few months. He is a 15-year U.S. army veteran that served in Afghanistan.
The second guard is undergoing training as required by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
All schools in Florida were mandated to have armed security on campus following the February 14 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Seventeen were killed. They included both students and teachers.
Manatee School for the Arts’ status as a charter school means it can independently hire guards and decide what type of weapon they want them to use
During the Parkland shooting, sheriff’s deputies from Broward County, including the school resource officer, sat outside as shots were fired inside the buildings.
Sheriff Scott Israel was suspended last month over the fallout from inadequate law enforcement response.
Manatee School for the Arts’ status as a charter school means it can independently hire guards and decide what type of weapon they want them to use.
In contrast, school resource officers assigned to campuses by local law agencies keep their rifles secured in racks built into their vehicles rather than carrying them.
Manatee School for the Arts is attended by 2,100 middle and high school students and has improved other aspects of its security such as adding higher perimeter fencing, going from six feet tall to eight feet and more than 450 surveillance cameras.