A school district in central Colorado decided it would be a good idea to arm their security patrols with semi-automatic rifles—you know, for security.
Apparently wanting to reignite the debate of the over-militarization of school security personnel, the Douglas County School District spent $12,300 on 10 semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles for their eight security patrols.
According to the school district's public information officer Paula Hans, the rifles were purchased in January, but several school board members didn’t find out about the purchase until recently.
Hans explains that the eight security patrols still need to “undergo rifle training with the local sheriff's department before they are qualified to use the weapons.”
"The decision to buy these guns were part of a proactive approach to figure out how to best protect students and staff in our district that sprawls across approximately 900 square miles," Hans said. "Richard Payne, the district's director of safety and security, wanted to make sure his officers have all the tools necessary if we have to respond to an incident to keep our students, staff safe."
Because arming security patrols with heavy firepower always helps, right?
While working, the security patrols will put the rifles "in locking mechanisms" inside school district vehicles and will be stored "in a safe during off-duty hours in the security office off school property," Hans said.
One school board member, Wendy Vogel, told KMGH that she wished there had been a discussion amongst the committee about the guns before they were purchased. Vogel didn’t learn of the purchase until Monday.
"We’ve got to keep our kids safe, and we’ve got to keep our staff and community safe, but in my opinion, that’s the role of law enforcement," Vogel told KMGH. "It's not the role of a public school district."
Meghann Silverthorn, another school board member, said that the discussion began in early July 2015. Some of the board members weren’t elected until November, so they weren’t a part of the original discussion.
"Also, purchases only of $75,000 or more typically go before the board," she said. "This was way below that."
She went on to explain that she would be happy to talk to anyone who feels more discussion is necessary.
School safety and security expert Kenneth Trump said that this purchase is “troubling,” and believes that this could spell out serious trouble if the school doesn't have "important, necessary conversations about implementation."
"The devil is often in the details of implementation, and this is what concerns me," Trump said. "They will need to think about where the officers store it and how they will access it in the case of an emergency."
Banner / Thumbnail : Wikimedia Commons / Billy Hathorn