NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Metro Nashville Public Schools not only refuses to put armed security in elementary schools, but school director Adrian Battle dismisses SROs as people who criminalize student behavior. Instead, she wants to put unarmed school ambassadors in elementary schools.
FOX 17 News asked former Metro SWAT team and tactics lead instructor Bob Allen how an unarmed school ambassador would have done against gunman Audrey Hale inside The Covenant School. Allen now directs training at Royal Range and is widely considered one of the top tactics instructors in the country.
“That crazy idea of unarmed ambassadors is just ridiculous,” said Allen.
“I mean, they’ll be a victim lying on the floor. That’s what they’ll be. You know, I don’t care if you got all the ninja skills in the world. If I'm 10 feet away from you, I'll shoot you, and you can’t do any ninja stuff to me. So they need to be trained up and armed.”
We asked MNPS again Thursday if it was time to dismiss the idea of the unarmed school ambassador in elementary schools. They responded, “No, we do not intend to stop implementing the safety measures we have previously announced. We are continuing to recruit, hire, and train Safety Ambassadors.”
The student resource officer Metro doesn’t want is often called the first line of defense against a school shooter. The place to start before you start adding other security layers.
We asked Allen, a man who has trained law enforcement officers for more than 20,000 hours: How long can we go without having SRO’S in elementary schools in Nashville?
“It's already been too long. I mean, this could have just as easily been in a Metro School, we’ve already been too long and somebody needs to get that school board into action.”
But the school board is still not talking about increasing security in Metro Schools. In fact, school board chairman Rachel Elrod says it is impossible.
“We still are refusing to take concrete steps and significantly address the situation. And because of this chosen indecision, schools and our leaders are given the impossible choices on how to protect our children and staff,” said Elrod.
But others argue it is not impossible. Add armed security in Metro, add ballistic glass – which so far has a 100% success rate. This week, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally proposed looking into funding ballistic glass.
Brink Fidler from Defend Systems says yes, the killer got in through the glass, but it's happened many times before with no action. This time there has to be action.
“Glass has always been a weak point for physical security,” said Fidler. “And you would think that we as a society would know this and appreciate this, considering that's exactly how the shooter made entry at Sandy Hook. But we don't see action often after these. Because the sting wears off. I hate to say we needed this to sting a long time. But in order to actually get some action, it has to sting right? We got dead children and dead teachers in a Christian school. I hope this stings bad enough to get some action.”
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