A charter school in Slaughter, Louisana, has become the first in the state to arm school resource officers (SROs) with rifles.
The Slaughter Community Charter School Board voted unanimously to approve rifle carry for SROs amid discussions regarding school shooting precautions, reported WAFB 9. After the May 2022 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, school leaders wanted to implement changes to ensure stronger protections. (RELATED: Armed School Resource Officer Engages Maryland High School Shooter)
“[The principal] came to me, and said we have to increase the security at our school,” Officer Willie Brooks told the outlet, adding that most school shooters use assault rifles and that SROs cannot risk being outgunned.
“We realized that you can’t take a handgun to a rifle fight, because most of the bad guys are coming into the schools with assault rifles,” Brooks told the outlet.
“It’s strange, it’s unfortunate, or different, that it’s something you have to consider, but our goal is always the safety of our students and our staff,” said Dr. Stephanie Goudeau, principal of Slaughter Community Charter School (SCCR), according to WAFB 9.
Gordeau told the outlet she has not received any pushback since implementing the change. Both parents and students reportedly responded positively. Emmie Chaney, a mother of two students who attend SCCR, said she felt safer now that Brooks is better armed, WAFB 9 reported.
“He’s here for them, and now he’s able to protect them in a better way, and that’s just really comforting,” Chaney told the outlet.
Brooks, who has worked in law enforcement for over 15 years, told WAFB 9 that he has been advocating for SROs to carry rifles since he began working at the school five years ago.
“It really irritated me because as an officer, and as an active shooter instructor, if somebody were to come on this campus and start shooting, you can’t run to your unit, a locked unit, to get your rifle and come back and engage a shooter,” Brooks said, according to the outlet.
“One of my things, you can be a hero two different ways – either a dead hero or a live hero. Having this rifle on me now makes me feel a whole lot better if someone were to bring a rifle and hurt the students on this campus,” Brooks told WAFB 9.