February 12, 2019
PALMETTO, Fla. (WCTV) – Since the Broward County school shooting, the state has made sure security is tight around Florida schools.
Manatee School for the Arts has put a safety measure in place that is a little different from other schools across the Suncoast.
Because Manatee School for the Arts is a charter school, it's allowed to make its own rules about security. Just a few months ago, the school decided its school guardian would carry around a military-style long gun, along with a handgun.
So far, the school only has one guardian who protects 2,100 students. He has 15 years of military experience and wears an armor plated vest for protection.
He had to go through the standard three weeks of training to allow him to carry the handgun, then had to do additional training at the sheriff’s office to carry the long gun. The school’s principal, Dr. Bill Jones, said it is necessary for the guardian to have the proper tools to take down an active shooter on their own.
"We've had a couple of incidents and we just called and they're here in three minutes. Unfortunately, you look at Parkland and in three minutes how many people were killed. So you know, you can't expect much more from the police, there's only so much they can do and the rest of it is your responsibility," said Dr. Jones.
Dr. Jones said there’s been mixed reaction to the gun in the school so far, but overall it’s been positive. He said another guardian who will also carry a long gun will start working at the school very soon.