By Marysol Guzman |Staff writer|
The purchase of semiautomatic rifles back in Fall 2012 sparked controversy in the Fontana Unified School District (FUSD).
In an interview with L.A Times, Police Chief Billy Green said he wanted to give parents and community members all the information possible behind the purchase.
He sent out a letter to the parents of the FUSD, in English and Spanish, stating that it was his hope to answer questions through this way of written communication.
In the letter he also said the rifles are a necessary tool to respond to situations that will jeopardize the safety of students and staff.
“The law enforcement rifle is a tool which provides officers increased accuracy, increased power, enhances the distance in which an officer can eliminate a threat to your child’s life,” said Green.
At $1,000 each, 14 Colt rifles were purchased back in Oct. 2012 and were received in Dec. 2012 before the shooting in Newton, CT. occurred.
Leticia Garcia, board member, said in a past interview that Green should have informed the five member board and held a public meeting.
Garcia said the school board was not notified about the purchase until after it was made.
Student, Adrian Lozano has a younger sister attending Kaiser High School (KHS) and has his own standpoint on the issue.
“I think they bought them for a reason. For their safety,” said Lozano. “But they are also sending the wrong message.
They are saying ‘stop gun violence’ but then again they are purchasing $14,000 on guns when they could have purchased other things.”
Green clarified that there was no threat to any of the campuses in the FUSD, however it was his duty to analyze reoccurring crime trends.
“I would be negligent in my responsibilities if I were to ignore the fact that there have been 29 school shootings, which have resulted in 59 deaths-all since 2010,” said Green.
He also talked about the safety measures that will be put into place while transferring the rifles from the police department to school grounds.
Only trained and authorized police officers on duty will have the rifles stored in their car or stored in their office safe at their assigned high school while they are present.
Access to the combination will only be available to the officer.
Lozano’s younger sister, Marielena Lozano, said that teachers at KHS have been keeping the students informed about the issue.
“They have different opinions. Some of my teachers think its necessary some of them think its a waste of money but its better to be safe,” said Lozano.
The rifles were purchased two years after the school district cut the counselor program due to the lack of money, mentioned Ms. Lozano.
In the letter, Green assured that $14,000 would have not been enough to cover the salary of one school counselor.
Mrs. Rocio Lozano, said it gave her security knowing that police officers will act in an intelligent way.
Green assured parents that the men and women of the Fontana Unified School District Police Services Department are honored in serving their children, their teachers, their parents and their community.