Fla. school hires combat veterans to patrol campus

By PoliceOne Staff

PALMETTO, Fla. — With the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting coming up on Thursday, another Florida school is attempting to prevent a similar tragedy from happening on their campus.

The Manatee School of the Arts is hiring two combat veterans whose job will be solely to patrol the campus with rifles and stop active shooters, The Huffington Post reports.

“If someone walks onto this campus, they’re going to be shot and killed,” the school’s principal Bill Jones told the Bradenton Herald. “We’re not going to talk with them. We’re not going to negotiate. We are going to put them down, as quickly as possible.”

The Parkland shooting resulted in many Florida schools tightening their security. Jones said it’s important schools have the tools to take down a shooter on their own.

Because Manatee School for the Arts is a charter school, they’re allowed to make their own rules when it comes to security. Officials will arm the guardians with a handgun and a long gun to protect the campus.

“We’ve had a couple of incidents and we just called and they’re here in three minutes,” Jones told the publication. “Unfortunately, you look at Parkland and in three minutes how many people were killed. So you know you can’t expect much more from the police, there’s only so much they can do and the rest of it is your responsibility.”

The school’s first hire, a combat veteran with 15 years of infantry experience, has been on campus for a few months. Another guardian will begin working this month after he completes the required 132 hours of firearms safety and proficiency training.

Although Jones says “most parents have been very accepting,” the school is hoping to put safety concerns to an end by requiring the guardians to keep the chambers of their rifles empty and not keep the guns stored on campus.