North Carolina Sheriff’s Stocking Schools with AR-15 Rifles

MARSHALL, North Carolina (AP) — When schools in a North Carolina county reopen later this month, new safety measures will include stockpiling AR-15 rifles for school resource officers to use in active shooter case.

Spurred on by the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers in May, school officials and Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood placed one semi-automatic rifles in each of the county’s six schools. Each of the weapons will be locked in a safe, Harwood said.

The North Carolina school district and the sheriff’s office are working together to step up security after the Uvalde shooting revealed systemic failures and ‘extremely poor decision-making’, resulting in more than an hour of chaos before the shooter was ultimately confronted and killed by law enforcement, according to a report by a Texas House of Representatives investigative committee.

“These officers were in that building for so long, and this suspect was able to infiltrate that building and injure and kill so many children,” Harwood told the Asheville Citizen Times. “I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in case that happens.”

The idea of ​​having AR-15s in schools doesn’t sit well with Dorothy Espelage, a UNC Chapel Hill professor in the School of Education who has conducted decades of school safety studies and research and student well-being.

“What’s going to happen is we’re going to have accidents with these guns,” Espelage told WLOS-TV. The mere presence of an ORS increases violence in schools. There are more arrests of children. those AR-15s? That does not make any sense.

Madison County Schools Superintendent Will Hoffman said school administrators meet regularly with local law enforcement officials, including Harwood, to discuss updated safety measures.

Harwood said county school resource officers trained with instructors from the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

Harwood said the safes where the AR-15s will be kept will also contain ammunition and breaching tools for the barricaded doors.

“We will have these tools to be able to force this door if necessary. I don’t want to have to run to the car to get an AR because it’s wasted time. I hope we never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as possible,” he said.

Schools are scheduled to reopen Aug. 22, according to the Madison County Schools website.

While the optics of school resource officers potentially handling AR-15s in schools may be troublesome to some, Harwood said he believes it’s a necessary response.

“I hate that we have come to a place in our country where I have to put a safe in our schools and lock that safe so my deputies can acquire an AR-15. But, we can turn it off and say it’s not going to happen in Madison County, but we’ll never know,” Harwood said.

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