Florida High School Hires Armed Veterans to Guard Building

‘If someone walks onto this campus, they’re going to be shot and killed…’

Florida High School Hires Armed Veterans to Guard Building

One of the armed security guards at Florida’s Manatee School of the Arts / IMAGE: Sarasota Herald-Tribune via Youtube

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Florida high school hired two combat veterans to protect students from potential armed shooters, according to The New York Times.

The hired “guardians” will carry a Glock handgun and a semiautomatic rifle as they patrol the Manatee School for the Arts, a public charter school in Palmetto, Fla.

“Manatee School For the Arts has made a conscious decision to hire military combat veterans to serve as Guardians,” Principal Bill Jones told Fox News. “We are looking for individuals for whom an incident on campus would not be the first time they will have been shot at [or] would have faced life-threatening situations.”

Schools across Florida have enhanced security after Nikolas Cruz massacred 17 teens and faculty members one year ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

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At least three other recent mass shootings have plagued the Sunshine State: a nightclub in Orlando, a mall in Jacksonville and a bank in Sebring.

Subsequent investigations in the Parkland shooting revealed that the sheriff’s deputies charged with protecting the school were derelict in their duty.

Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis fired Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel after criticizing his lack of leadership in the crisis.

Because there is no fail-safe way to prevent acts of evil, Jones said readiness was the best—and only—path to ensuring school safety.

“They need to have already reflected on who they are and what they can tolerate,” he said. “They need to know that they will not hesitate to aggressively approach and resolve any threat that comes on campus.”

Jones said the school underwent an extensive screening process to find the two Guardians.

“We have rejected over 600 applicants. We feel we have selected two of the best of the best.”

Even so, for safety reasons the officers must keep the guns’ chambers empty when off duty, and they cannot be stored on campus, the school said.

Both men have to complete extensive training, as well as a “psychological evaluation and a background check,” Jones said. One officer has 15 years’ worth of infantry experience.

“These are individuals who have experienced the worst and have reconciled there who they are,” he said. “As a result, they approach the job with a heightened level of awareness, yet calmness, knowing that such situations can be successfully dealt with. They must be excellent marksmen with the ability to focus under pressure and accomplish the mission.”

With any luck the Guardians’ presence will be sufficient deterrent, but Jones told the Bradenton Herald that no hesitation would occur if his school were under assault.

“If someone walks onto this campus, they’re going to be shot and killed,” Jones said, according . “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.”