â??The message weâ??re sending isâ?¦not here, not now, weâ??re prepared for you. And if you seek to harm our children, we will neutralize that threat and you will most likely be killed."
That's what Fontana, California Police Chief Rodney Jones had to say about School Resource Officers under his command being issued AR-15 assault rifles.
Jones told the Los Angeles Times that itâ??s â??unfortunateâ?? that the school district had to resort to drastic measures, but added that â??itâ??s the best message we can send to anybody that thinks to harm our children.â??
The officers were armed recently with the new semiautomatic rifles...drawing sharp criticism and sparking an effort to ban such weapons on school campuses.
The military-style rifles, which cost about $1,000 each, will be kept in safes when officers are on campus and will be used only in "extreme emergency cases" according to school Supt. Cali Olsen-Binks.
The district purchased the rifles in October and received them in December, before the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
The shooting sparked debate on whether armed school guards could prevent these types of tragedies.
Fontana Unified School District police Chief Billy Green said the rifles are designed to increase shooting accuracy and provide the 14 officers with more effective power against assailants wearing body armor.
"If you know of a better way to stop someone on campus that's killing children or staff members with a rifle, I'd like to hear it," he said. "I don't think it's best to send my people in to stop them with just handguns."
Would you support your school district's purchase of military-grade assault rifles to protect students?