Powerful new weapons will be used in one Colorado school district to protect the kids.
School security officers in the Douglas County School District will now have semi-automatic long rifles in addition to their handguns.
11 News talked to several of our local school districts, asking if they were considering the addition of long rifles. Districts 38, 20 and 49 told us they were not considering it right now.
The number of armed security officers varies from district to district.
In D-20, all of their security guards are armed. D-49 has two armed security guards. D-38 doesn’t have any.
The Douglas County School District covers 95 schools. The nine high schools each have armed school resource officers who are always there. The eight roaming security officers are the ones getting the semi-automatic long rifles. The officers will keep the rifles locked in their security cars during the day while they go between schools, and locked up in a safe overnight.
Folks we talked to have mixed opinions on it.
"I’m very for it, my husband is a teacher and I’m all about their security and making sure that they can keep the kids as safe as possible," Charity Jones said.
"Totally unnecessary, they don't need to have firearms in a school, school is for learning not for weapons," Jason Rosa said.
Last summer the security officers were a part of a joint active shooter drill with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. The deputies had long rifles and the security officers felt ill-equipped with just handguns.
The district’s director of safety and security, Rich Payne, said they made the decision to buy the rifles just a couple months after the drill.
The 10 Bushmaster semi-automatic long rifles were purchased in January from a police supply company for $12,300. The money came out of the district security’s budget.
“I don't think that you can use violence for violence," Karen Branch said.
"I’m all for protecting the kids and whatever it takes as long as they're properly trained, no problem," Linda Benz said.
The eight officers have former law enforcement experience. They'll all have to go through the same 20-hour training course that sheriff's deputies go through before being issued one of the long rifles.
We’re told there are an additional 56 unarmed campus security employees in the district.