Santa Fe's School District Will Accept AR-15 Donations Months After A Deadly Shooting
Two months after suffering a deadly mass shooting, a Texas school district is accepting gun donations for its internal security team. Community members have given the Santa Fe Independent School District (SFISD) eight AR-15s, $4,800 worth of ammunition and optical sights, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday. In May, a gunman shot and killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School, that district's lone high school.
According to the Chronicle, community members had offered to donate over $20,000 worth of guns, ammo and weapons training to the school district, and the SFISD's board of trustees voted to accept the donation. The donors themselves wished to remain anonymous, a spokeswoman for the district told the Chronicle.
The Guardian reports that, in light of the May shooting, the SFISD is expanding its internal police department to to 14 full-time officers, 10 part-time officers and five campus security assistants. The weapons in question will only be given to full-time officers at the department, SFISD Police Chief Walter Braun said at a Monday meeting of trustees.
"This is only for full-time staff," Braun said, according to the Chronicle. "We're not outfitting everyone." School board President J.R. Norman says there are no plans in place to arm teachers at the district's schools, according to the Associated Press.
The fatal Santa Fe shooting took place on May 18, and according to CNN, it was the 22nd school shooting in America since the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, that number has only grown since; as of July 17, there have been 53 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2018, according to Everytown — an average of roughly two per week.
Although the SFISD hasn't approved any programs for arming its schools teachers, several other districts in the area have, including the Huffman and Navasota ISDs. Those programs allow school boards to establish training and guidelines for allowing certain school staff members to carry guns on campus, the Chronicle reports. The Santa Fe Board of Education, however, has not even discussed any such programs at its meetings, according to the Chronicle.
Assault rifles and ammunition aren't the only donations that the SFISD trustees have accepted in the wake of the May shooting. The trustees also accepted a $13,000 donation from the Houston Astros, the Chronicle reports, which will be used to buy protective vests and other safety equipment for school police officers.
In addition, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Garrett Metal Detectors have pledged to donate metal detectors to the district for use in its schools. An assessment by Garrett found that 19 metal detectors would be needed to safeguard the four SFISD schools; Patrick will donate 10 of them while Garrett provides the rest, according to the Chronicle, at a total cost of $45,600.
Bob Atkins, SFISD's director of maintenance and operations, told the Chronicle that those metal detectors will be installed and operational at the district's schools by the time students return from summer vacation on August 20th. The district is looking to hire between 18 and 30 campus safety assistants to operate the machines, Braun said.
According to USA TODAY, 2017 was the deadliest year for mass shootings in the United States in over a decade. The Mass Shooting Tracker reports that 316 people in the United States have been killed in mass shootings in 2018 so far. Despite nationwide protests, however, the Republican-controlled Congress has not passed any federal gun control legislation since it took power in 2010.