NC county leaders consider armed teams to provide school security

by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2018

Officials in North Carolina’s Wilkes County have proposed using teams of armed security personnel in the county’s public schools, a report said.

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According to a Feb. 23 report by the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Wilkes County Commissioner Eddie Settle said the goal is “to have a security team armed and ready and on campus if a situation was to arise. Their jurisdiction would only be on that campus.”

Wilkes County has a total of 23 public schools and, currently, four high schools have full-time school resource officers (SROs).

“We have a lot of schools without protection and we’ve got some nuts out there trying to kill innocent people,” Settle said. “If a serious incident occurred at Traphill Elementary School, the SRO is at North Wilkes High and that’s a pretty good distance up the road.”

Wilkes County Commission Chairman Gary Blevins said, according to current law, the armed teams would “have to be either former law enforcement or military with military police training in their background and have additional training. And it is strictly volunteer. They can’t be paid staff.”

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson is in favor of placing more SROs in schools but does not support arming teachers, according to a report by the Raleigh News & Observer.

“We already ask so much of our educators,” Johnson said in a statement. “I do not believe we should ask them to take on another massive responsibility of having firearms in the classroom.”

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported on Feb. 24 that, since January, Asheville police had recorded at least four threats made directly to an Asheville city school, student or faculty member, two of which led to lockdowns.

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