Eastern Carolina parents weigh in on Madison County Schools equipping officers with AR-15s

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Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT
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N.C. (WITN) - Following the deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas earlier this year, a North Carolina school district has placed semi-automatic rifles in each of the county’s schools in an attempt to make their schools safer ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.

Semi-automatic rifles will be locked in safes across six Madison County schools along with extra ammunition and breaching tools, only to be accessed by the school resource officers.

Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood shared why: “I do not want to have to run back out to the car because that’s time lost. Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as they can be.”

Parents in Eastern Carolina were open about their thoughts about the western North Carolina county’s school safety decision.

“I just don’t feel like having an assault rifle on our campus necessarily makes us a safer school, no matter if it is our SRO or an administrator that has access to it,” Charlie Kessel, a Pitt County parent and teacher said. “I would be honestly worried that it would then up the ante of what a prospective shooter might be bringing on to our campus as well which I think might endanger our kids more than it would maybe help them.”

However, not all parents felt the same.

Jazmine Marshall says this could be what the school system needs to better protect its students.

“I definitely feel like we do need to have some type of protection in our schooling,” Marshall said. “These are children we are asking to just hide underneath the desk. We need somebody there to protect them and they are looking for an adult to do that. So having guns in the school is great.”

WITN reached out to several school districts in Eastern Carolina to see if they had discussed similar methods in their school systems. Craven County was the only one to respond Monday, saying they have not had those discussions.

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