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Monday May 4th, 2015 4:16PM

GPD answers questions about school assault rifles

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - There was no decision Monday night from Gainesville Schools Governance Councils on placing assault rifles in three system schools, but Gainesville Police did answer questions during a joint meeting at the school board office.

Would the rifles be securely placed on campus, are they affordable, would they make the students safer? Gainesville governance council chairman Ashley Bell said his council members got the answers they wanted.

"We're going to take it back to the School Governance Council at our next regular meeting and we're going to the School Board our recommendation," Bell said.

A School Board decision based on that recommendation could come next month.

The rifles would be placed at Gainesville High, Woods Mill Academy; Gainesville Middle School and the Woods Mill and Middle School Governance Councils have approved of the additional protection.

Bell said GHS Governance Council members had additional questions.

"We felt there were some questions that need to be answered," Bell said. "I think going forward they'll get a favorable response from our school governance council."

Police Lieutenant Jay Parish explained that the rifles would be kept on campus in a 'bio-metric gun safe', fire proof and affixed to the building itself. It would work just like a bank safe.

"Its locks with a combination that takes a finger print that we put in before it will unlock," Parish said.

That finger print I.D. would be limited to the School Resource Officer on duty, other SRO's who would need access, and the SRO supervisor.

Police Chief Brian Kelly said the officer would carry the rifle with him and not leave it on campus, but it could be covered as he moves it to and from the school.

Kelly told council members the Police Department and the School System could split the estimated $6,000 cost for the rifles and the safes 50/50.

"I think it was a very positive meeting," the Chief said. "We want to make sure they are comfortable, this is something new for the Gainesville School System and we want to make sure we're providing the best resources we can to keep our children and our administrators safe."
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