Published December 18, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – A north Georgia school board has approved a measure allowing some school resource officers to carry rifles.
The plan calls for a rifle to be kept in each of the city's high schools and middle schools, The Gainesville Times reported.
The weapons will be kept inside safes and will be accessible only to the school resource officer, school district officials have said. Earlier this year, district leaders said the safes would be accessible by fingerprint recognition.
The estimated $6,000 cost will be split between the district and the police department, the newspaper reported.
The city's police department approached the district with a proposal to allow resource officers in certain schools to carry rifles after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.
Board member Willie Mitchell voted against the proposal.
"To me it's like putting Band-Aids on a cancer. Yeah, we need to study ways to keep bad people out of our school system but a gun in a cabinet, away from where probably the scene would happen, isn't going to stop any damage," he told the newspaper.
Although Monday's vote followed shortly after the Newtown anniversary and a shooting in Colorado, board member Maria Calkins said the decision was based on the needs of the school district, not external factors.
"This is about the relationship between Gainesville Police Department and Gainesville City Schools," Calkins said. "And what (the police) feel they need to do their job. It has nothing to do with any other school systems."