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Wednesday May 25th, 2016 3:25PM

Monday meeting to focus on plans to equip school resource officers with rifles

By Ken Stanford Reporter
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GAINESVILLE - A proposal to allow school Gainesville school resource officers (SROs) to have access to rifles inside school buildings will get an airing at a meeting of the school system's school Governance Councils Monday.

The plan first surfaced after the deadly school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

Gainesville Police did a safety assessment at every city school after the December shooting and one issue was glaring, according to Lt. Jay Parrish.

"The adversary has bigger, better weapons than what the average officer carries in their day-to-day operations and we saw a need to get that to the school resource officers because they're usually the first to be there," Lt. Parrish said at a news conference Sept. 4, just one day after the issue was discussed at a school board meeting. (See earlier story. First link below.)

After that assessment, a draft of the proposal to allow in-school access to semi-automatic rifles went to three Gainesville City Schools - Gainesville High School, Gainesville Middle School and Woods Mill Academy - in April. The measure never came up for a vote before the Gainesville School Board because Gainesville High School's Governance Council had questions about how the plan would work.

But after a gunman managed to enter an elementary school in Dekalb County in late August, School Board Member David Syfan asked that the proposal be placed back on the board agenda. (See earlier story. Second link below.)

Now, the plan is to vote in October on funding the new weapons after the board hears from the Governance Councils Monday night. Police department representatives will be on hand for the meeting which will be held at 6:00 at city school board offices on Oak Street.
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