As students flood through the doors of the new North Atlanta High School, they’ll usher in the 2013-2014 school year with a never-been-used cafeteria, sparkling gymnasium and state-of-the-art indoor rifle range.
The range is just one of many new features at the school, which opened for business Wednesday. But before gun control advocates gasp in shock at the danger this poses to students, the indoor rifle range will only serve members of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp and rifle team. Additionally, it will support only compressed-air powered pellet rifles, not standard guns.
“It’s nothing that can hurt anybody and they will be supervised to the max,” parent Cappy McAlpin told Atlanta’s WSBTV. “Why not start now for those that want to do that.”
North Atlanta High’s new program will be taught by an instructor certified by the U.S. Army Cadet Command and the Georgia High School Athletic Association. Students using the range will have access to the latest safety gear, also.
Though the school’s range is far from the only one of its kind in the state — North Atlanta High’s was modeled after a similar range at Grady High School — some parents are a bit skeptical of the idea.
“I’ll probably question it a little bit just to get a better idea,” Donna Jones, a parent, said. “Like I said, I didn’t understand why they’re going to be doing that but
I think they’re going to be very careful in protecting the students.”
The range is not yet safety certified, but will be within the next month, WSBTV reported. Until then, students are not permitted to use it.
Still, parents are confident North Atlanta High officials will take the appropriate measures to ensure all students’ safety.
I see a kid walking around school with a weapon locked and loaded I would have concern, but I think they’re going to be locked in a lock and safe,” parent Bobby Strozier said.
Gun violence in schools has become a prominent issue following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last year. Since then, gun-control proponents have argued for stricter gun laws in an effort to curb gun violence. But according to a new Rasmussen poll, a majority of Americans would feel safer if their children went to a school with armed guards.