Fontana School Board Votes 5-0 To Let District Police Keep Assault Rifles

FONTANA—The Fontana Unified School District Board of Trustees on February 27 voted 5-0 in favor of the district school police force having assault rifles at its disposal.
Without prior authorization, school district police chief Billy Green ordered and purchased 14 semi-automatic Colt AR 6940 rifles with magazines capable of firing armor piercing bullets. When that $19,286 acquisition, which included targeting lights for the guns, armor piercing ammunition, cases, and a vault to secure them, was revealed, board members Leticia Garcia and Sophia Green (no relation to Billy Green) sought a public hearing on the matter.
Billy Green on Wednesday night answered critics of the purchase who had complained that the guns represented more firepower and destructive capability than is in the possession of several local municipal police departments.
He cited 32 shootings in schools nationally, resulting in 60 deaths and 38 injuries since 2010 in justifying the purchase. Green said the rifles, which are to remain under lock and key until needed, would give school officers an advantage over someone intent on mayhem who is wielding a handgun.
A parent, Oskar Zambrano, said providing the officers with such overwhelming firepower would “send a message” to students that was inappropriate. “Violence begets more violence,” he said. “That is what you have with these rifles.”
Garcia, who had previously criticized the purchase, said that she did “not want to deny our officers the tools to do the job but I do have concerns about the militarizing of our campuses.”
Gus Hawthorn, the board president, called upon his board colleagues to support Billy Green and  to “protect students, parents and employees.” The full board, including Garcia and Sophia Green, voted to keep the rifles.

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