After the mass shooting Uvalde, Texas, we all have been debating the best ways to keep children safe from gun violence. Common sense would think to pass more gun safety legislation to cut down the number of school shootings. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that all six Madison County schools in North Carolina will have an AR-15. Each of the guns will be locked inside a safe and will also hold ammunition and breaching tools for barricaded doors.
Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood points to the inadequacies uncovered in the investigation of Texas law enforcement’s response in Uvalde to justify these “beefed up” security measures.
“Those officers were in that building for so long, and that suspect was able to infiltrate that building and injure and kill so many kids,” Sheriff Buddy Harwood said. “I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in the event that happens.”
There will be a panic button system that reports to a monitoring center and the Sheriff’s Office in each building. Additionally, each school will have a school safety liaison and partner with the Department of Public Safety to conduct safety checks on its schools. Harwood believes in our current world, measures like this are inevitable.
“I hate that we’ve come to a place in our nation where I’ve got to put a safe in our schools and lock that safe up for my deputies to be able to acquire an AR-15. But, we can shut it off and say it won’t happen in Madison County, but we never know,” Harwood said.
According to her decades of research, UNC-Chapel Hill professor in the School of Education Dorothy Espelage feels this measure will only increase anxieties within school students.
“What’s going to happen is we’re going to have accidents with these guns,” Espelage told WLOS-TV. Just the presence of an SRO increases violence in the schools. There are more arrests of kids. Why is it that they have to have these AR-15s? It doesn’t make any sense.”
A couple of weeks ago, the House passed an assault weapons ban measure which will surely die in the Senate. It’s sad to think we have accepted a world where students will have to go back into the classroom with clear backpacks and security, which have to be trained to use weapons.
This isn’t even considering the massive number of teaching vacancies this upcoming school year and Black students who have voiced displeasure about the police presence increase. The children would ultimately lose when we accept these methods as the new normal.