Armed police have long patrolled the 44 schools in Fontana Unified School District near Los Angeles, but, since returning from the holidays, the district's 14 officers have been packing much more serious heat, controversially upgrading to Colt LE6940 semiautomatic rifles, reports the the Los Angeles Times. The guns were actually purchased in October, well before the Sandy Hook shooting, but the district's police chief says they were necessary for dealing with such heavily armed attackers. "If you know of a better way to stop someone on campus that's killing children or staff members with a rifle, I'd like to hear it," he says.
Some have criticized the $14,000 spent to buy the 14 rifles, coming two years after the schools' guidance programs were axed. "They should use the money to get back our counselors because a lot of us really need them," one student tells the AP. Some board officials are also upset that they were not informed about the high-powered gun upgrade, which they say should have been run by them as a policy issue; police didn't need budgetary approval because the dollar amount was under the threshold. "We're turning our schools into a militarized zone," said one board member.