A school district in the western U.S. state of Colorado is set to arm its security personnel with semi-automatic rifles similar to those used by United States military in what officials are calling a “proactive” move to combat mass violence seen recently around the country.
The Douglas County school district, located in the Denver suburbs, will spend more than $12,000 to arm its security guards with military-style rifles in order to give them the same tools as police officers, district security director Richard Payne said. He added that the eight security guards employed by the district are former police officers and the rifles will be kept locked in patrol cars.
“They will not be in the schools,” he said.
Douglas County contains 86 schools and around 67,000 students, but that number is projected to nearly double by 2040.
Payne said he made the decision to buy the rifles himself and did not seek the approval of the school board, though he did discuss the purchase with the school superintendent, who approved the purchase after a lengthy discussion.
The first few guns will go into service next month with the rest being handed out in August. Security officers will need to complete a 20-hour training course before acquiring the rifles.