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Parents call for armed officers on campus

Parents fear violence will run rampant at school now that the Weslaco school district has no police force.

One parent started a petition this week, and said she won’t send he daughter back to school without armed officers on campus.

This comes after reports that the Weslaco ISD police department was disbanded. The district opted instead for unarmed security guards after funds for the force ran dry.

“Because if someone comes into our school district armed with a gun, who's going to take them down?” asked parent Amanda Garza.

District superintendent Richard Rivera said a grant that funded the force expired.

“The money's gone,” Rivera said. “There's no new money.”

Rivera said the schools are still safe. Now Weslaco city police will respond to on-campus emergencies.

“Our schools were safe before the police department,” Rivera said. “They were safe with the police department. And they'll be safe without the police department.”

But the district’s former police chief Ron Cooper disagreed.

“No, I don't think the schools will be as safe. Our presence prevents a lot of criminal activity,” Cooper said.

“I'm not stupid,” Cooper continued. “I know what it's all about. I know what just happened.”

Cooper said his force was eliminated because the superintendent wants to hide the truth about what is happening on campus.

“He likes to keep a lot of things ‘hush-hush,’” Cooper said.

Rivera dismissed that claim.

“I can tell you right now, on camera, he was never told to keep anything ‘hush-hush,’” Rivera said.

He went on to describe the former chief’s track record of insubordination. Documents show school officers using district-owned vehicles and guns during spring break security on the island in 2003. Several officers who worked spring break earned $15 an hour. The district didn’t see any of that money, even though their equipment came in handy.

Rivera said Cooper was reprimanded for the incident.

“Perhaps we felt he (Cooper) went against what needed to be done,” Rivera said.

But the problem is not performance, Rivera said. The problem is money. He’ll begin applying for new grants to some day supply a new force.

In the meantime, Amanda Garza is hoping parents will sign her petition to bring the officers back.

She said her children’s safety depends on it.

*FW Note:

Ah, The laws creating those wonderful "Gun-Free" Victim Disamament Zones come back to haunt...

Why don't they simply allow those staff qualified for concealed carry to do so on campus? Why don't they simply permit American citizens to exercise their rights and to be prepared to defend themselves if needs be?

I wonder if these people realize that their own dependence on someone else doing the dirty work put then in this situation?

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