MARSHALL, N.C. – In the wake of the Uvalde School shootings, one eastern North Carolina school district and county sheriff’s office are placing AR-15 rifles in every school as a part of increased security measures for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
The Citizen Times reported that the placement of the rifles came because of a collaborative effort between the Madison County Schools and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The AR-15s will be placed in safes in all six schools in the district.
“We were able to put an AR-15 rifle and safe in all of our schools in the county,” Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the Citizen Times. “We’ve also got breaching tools to go into those safes. We’ve got extra magazines with ammo in those safes.”
Harwood also told the Citizen Times that he had the breaching tools on hand in case of a scenario where someone barricaded a door. The sheriff said he did not want to wait for the fire department to come and open it, resulting in lost time.
A live scenario will be conducted by the school district and the Sheriff’s Office to replicate a high-impact incident requiring an emergency response that will incorporate all the teachers in the school district on August 17th. Harwood told the Citizen Times that this would include live helicopters to prepare teachers for what it would look like if law enforcement had to come into the school.
“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. “I want the parents of Madison County to know we’re going to take every measure necessary to ensure our kids are safe in this school system. If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at that door with that AR strapped around that officer’s neck, then I’m going to do whatever my parents want as a whole to keep our kids safe.”
“We never know” is correct, and it is good that Sheriff Harwood and the Madison County School District are taking some common sense, proactive steps to prevent tragedy in their schools.
While we believe that schools would best be served by overturning the ridiculous “gun-free zone” laws (of which criminals have openly state are a big factor in WHY they choose to target those places) so that any willing trained school staff member can carry in their classroom, this is a step in the right direction at least.
We hope more school districts take that first step along with Madison County, North Carolina.