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How Sheriffs and Administrators are Turning Schools into War Zones

From shooting blanks in hallways to deployed armed criminals to patrol school grounds, safety measures are only causing more danger.
 
 
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In crazy Arizona news of the day, armed militias have begun patrolling the perimeter of Phoenix’s public schools at the behest of the city’s infamous sheriff Joe Arpaio.  

“I have the authority to mobilize private citizens and fight crime in this county,” Arpaio said two weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He also declared he has the power to deploy these patrols without the permission from school districts, teachers or parents. 

The 3,000 armed men, who Arpaio deployed in the middle of January as part of his self-titled “posse program,” are all volunteers, who even bought their own firearms, jeeps, uniforms and scary police-like paraphernalia just so they could participate. 

But here’s the real kicker: A bunch of Arpaio’s gun-slinging lackeys also have criminal records. 

According to an investigation by CBS 5, a number of these armed posse members have criminal convictions. And these aren’t low-level misdemeanors, either. A handful had arrests or convictions for offenses including violent assault, domestic violence, impersonating a police officer (perhaps why they jumped at the chance to be in the program) and, most shockingly, sex crimes against children.

The fact some of the armed men that are now stationed outside dozens of the state’s elementary, middle and high schools have criminal records has caused a “controversy,” declares the Arizona Republic.

Nevertheless, the program continues.

Meanwhile, on the topic of government officials turning America’s public schools into war zones, high school students in Illinois received a surprise on Wednesday when administrators tore through the halls shooting firearms loaded with blanks.

The shooting practice was part of a scheduled “code red lockdown drill” that the school’s administration decided to make just a tad more realistic.

In a letter to the parents about the exercise, administrators acknowledged that intentionally shooting firearms in schools--even as part of a practice--might not be the best thing for children to experience during a time of heightened paranoid of gun violence.

As the letter read,These drills help our students and staff to be prepared should a crisis occur, but it may cause some students to have an emotional reaction.”

Meanwhile, South Carolina has introduced legislation that would create shooting instruction classes in high schools across the state.

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.

 
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