Far too often does America witness the breaking news reports of students being subjected to the actions of bad guys with guns. Schools across America, unfortunately, are some of the most prominent “soft targets” for bad actors who are intent on doing bad things.
But in the wake of a rash of recent school shootings over the past several years, some school administrators are bucking what’s politically popular and erring on the side of mitigating the loss of life during these almost-inevitable, tragic events.
According to The Blaze, administrators at Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Florida have done what many across the country have been calling for, for years — they hired armed, trained armed guards to protect students in the face of an active-shooter scenario.
“We’re not looking for a fair fight,” Principal Bill Jones said of potential mass shooter situations. “We’re looking at an overwhelming advantage.”
Jones said he chose to hire experienced combat veterans because they understand how to react to an active shooting threat — in many cases more so than police officers. And that’s not a dig at America’s law enforcement, but combat veterans have the field experience of engaging in a firefight, while many law enforcement officers haven’t experienced that type of high-stress situation.
“I wouldn’t hire anybody who hadn’t been shot at and fired back,” Jones said. “I need someone who has been in that situation.”
One of the two reported new guardians of the school is a combat veteran with 15 years of front-line, infantry experience. The other veteran is expected to begin his role at the school later this year.
The combat veterans will be armed with semi-automatic rifles, which provides them with familiar equipment that they’ve likely already had extensive training with.
DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL SAFER?
– All schools in Palm Beach County & Treasure Coast will have armed guards at every campus @WPTV #Florida #SouthFL #southflorida #BackToSchool2018 pic.twitter.com/2p7t6Fp3Lx
— Mike Trim WPTV (@MikeTrimWPTV) August 9, 2018
The local police chief supports the veterans’ use of AR-15-style rifles on the campus, given that many school shooters come to the fight with similar weaponry.
“Assault rifles, whether you are for them or against them, are prolific in our society,” Chief Scott Tyler said in December to the Herald-Tribune. “So why would we not want the school guardian to have parity with that potential threat?”
Even though both combat veterans have ample field experience, for state law purposes, they were both trained under the local police department with 132-hour certifications. They will also be paid an impressive salary of $50,000 per year, which exceeds the state’s requirements for that position but as anyone on campus would probably agree is more than worth it.