In a controversial move that has divided students, parents, teachers, school administrators and community leaders, AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifles will be used to guard students, teachers and faculty at Compton Unified School District schools.

Before the start of the 2014 school year, Compton school board officials approved the new, aggressive policy to policing schools that allows school police who pass a screening test to carry AR-15 rifles in their patrol cars, according to KPCC radio.

“This is our objective – save lives, bottom line,” Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu told the board, according to KPCC. Wu also stated that the AR-15 rifles were chosen for their precision, as they can be used in the face of a “masked intruder” or “terrorist,” as the perpetrators in such cases often wear body armor that is impervious to routine weapons.

In the meantime, new legislation is being introduced in the Ohio statehouse that would make surveillance systems mandatory in new school construction. Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor On The Lake) says HB 446 would help save lives. If passed into law, the legislation would require new schools to have a variety of security features including surveillance video, entryway metal detectors, panic buttons and direct entrances and exits only accessible from inside classrooms.

“This is our objective – save lives, bottom line”  – Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu

One California school district is ahead of the curve. San Bernardino County is arguably one of the most violent and crime ridden in California. Schools were often the target of gangs, vandals and thieves. It was costing schools tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.

The San Bernardino City Unified School District took action in the form of an IP-based Intelligent Surveillance System. Designed by VectorUSA in Torrance, California, the system is an “open architecture” platform utilizing ONSSI Software, Sony High Definition cameras, Cisco infrastructure and HP Servers.

School sites are viewed “real time” in the SBCUSD School Police Dispatch Center which was also designed by VectorUSA. All footage is stored on the HP site server for 30 days and event footage can be stored forever on the District’s Central Storage Area Network (SAN). The result has been a significant reduction in school violence, vandalism and theft. Reports of school violence on campus are down, as are theft and vandalism.

SBCUSD Police Chief Joseph Paulino is more than pleased with the results. “For students to succeed, their educational environment must be safe, secure and orderly. To this end, schools must cultivate a climate of respect, free of disruption, drugs, violence and weapons. Our system gives us the force multiplier to achieve that goal.”

For more information, read our past performance on the San Bernardino City Unified School District.