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Did Parkland Have An Armed Guard? Sheriff Says Security Was At The School

The tragic Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left all of us devastated. Since, many are asking what could have been done in order to prevent this from happening, and what can be done in order to ensure this never happens again. So, did Parkland have an armed guard? According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, yes.

On Feb. 22, Israel held a press conference to confirm that there had been an armed deputy guard on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's campus that day. The deputy guard has since resigned from duty.

He said,

Scot Peterson, a school resource deputy. I want to clarify any rumors, conjectures or stories that have been out there. Scot Peterson was absolutely on campus through this entire event. He was armed, he was in uniform. ... The investigation will continue. We are not going to disclose the video and we may never disclose the video depending on the prosecution and the criminal case. But what I saw was a deputy arrive at the West side of building 12 take up a position and he never went in.

Since Israel revealed that the guard had been armed, many have noted that this news directly contradicts Trump's stance on "hardened schools," meaning increased security within a school building.

On Feb. 22, Trump shared his distaste for active shooter drills and "gun-free zones," claiming he "doesn't like them." As a counter suggestion, Trump expressed his support in arming teachers in an effort to prevent school shootings. He followed up his statement by claiming teachers would be given "rigorous training" in order to fully understand how to handle the weapon, and mentioned allowing bonuses to their paychecks.

According to CNN, Trump believes school shootings will be less likely if there's an understanding that teachers will be armed.

He said,

These people are cowards. They're not going to walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have guns — it may be 10 percent or may be 40 percent. And what I'd recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus. They'll frankly feel more comfortable having the gun anyway. But you give them a little bit of a bonus.

Trump's dismissal of gun control arguments and his support in arming teachers drew serious backlash among both lawmakers and educators.

Despite criticism from the public, Trump isn't alone in his stance that "hardening schools" is the best way to prevent mass violence.

He's received support from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Wayne LaPierre, CEO of NRA, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference about increased securities within schools.

He said,

Evil walks among us, and God help us if we don’t harden our schools and protect our kids. Every day young children are being dropped off at schools that are wide-open, soft targets for people bent on mass murder. It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store or some Hollywood gala.

Despite these arguments, the survivors of the shooting themselves are taking a different tack.

Since experiencing such a traumatic event, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are demanding for gun control and plan to take their voices to the Mar. 24 "March For Our Lives" rally in Washington D.C.

The Parkland, Florida students have also slammed politicians for accepting money from the NRA. Cameron Kasky, a junior at Stoneman Douglas, spoke to ABC News about the danger behind NRA donations and urged viewers to support "March For Our Lives."

He said,

People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that. Here’s a time. March 24th in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives. Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this. At the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting this gun culture.

A 2017 report from Politico revealed that the NRA has given nearly $6 million to members of the Republican party during the 2016 election cycle.

While the topic of gun control is still hot on everyone's tongues, these high school students are truly representing an American democracy.