Florida Sheriff Announces That Deputies In Schools To Be Armed with Large Rifles and Wear Tactical Gear To Protect Kids

Toby Hazlewood

"Prepared to win the battle to protect our children and teachers"

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On August 9, Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County Sheriff's Office posted a video message to Facebook in which he shared plans to keep kids and teachers safe in school when the next academic year begins. Most notable in the plans were that deputies posted in schools won't just be there as an armed deterrent but rather, they'll be equipped with large rifles and wearing tactical gear.

While some parents and teachers will likely welcome the measures as a means of trying to assure the safety of schools from potential future mass-shooting incidents, others are concerned that the effective 'militarization' of the school environment could be a distraction and potentially frightening for kids.

"Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought."

In a post that began with the above quote from Japanese philosopher Sun Tau, Sheriff Ivey described his justification for the measures.

"This new style uniform and tactical preparedness gives our team members the advantage and ability to instantly address the threat."

The force previously suggested that large rifles would remain outside of school in officers' cars but the measures announced since appear to backtrack on that.

A short-term response to

The timing of the announcement seems significant, with many of Florida's kids returning to school this week. In light of that fact, and given the recent trial of shooter Nikolas Cruz who murdered 16 in the Parkland School shooting four years ago there's a sense that measures announced by Sheriff Ivey could be intended to provide reassurance to parents and teachers alike.

Whether the measures will remain in place in the longer term remains to be seen. Meanwhile, recent initiatives in other states have suggested there may be other options available to secure schools against future mass shootings.

One school district in neighbouring Georgia decided in July that non-police personnel will be allowed to carry handguns on school property as a means of being better prepared against intruders.

With Governor Ron DeSantis having repeatedly promised that he will ensure that laws in Florida allow the constitutional carry of handguns in the course of his time in office, some will feel this offers a means of protecting kids' and teachers' safety while others will feel it increases the risk of mass-shootings.

Whether Brevard County proves to be a model for other counties to follow, remains to be seen.

What do you think about heavily armed police officers being present in Florida's schools? Do you think it's a good deterrent to violence, or will it be scary and distracting to kids and teachers? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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