Administrators at an Indiana school dismissed an Army veteran who stood guard outside their high school on Friday, armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun in the wake of the Parkland shooting that left 17 dead last week.
Mark Cowan, who is also an Oathkeeper, said he felt compelled to guard North Side High School in Fort Wayne to prevent another tragedy like in Parkland, Florida.
“These kids mean a lot to me,” he told WANE. “These teachers mean a lot to me … this is my community, and they need protecting. And our law enforcement, as good as it is, can’t be everywhere. So it’s people like myself and the other Oath Keepers that say, ‘I’m gonna take up that slack.’”
He added he decided to get his “butt off the couch and come out here and keep an eye on these kids and these teachers. They deserve it. They all deserve a right to go home every night without fear of what’s going to happen during the day.”
Cowan has been in touch with local law enforcement and the school’s resource officer to let his intentions known.
The North Side High School were less than thrilled by his thoughtful gesture, issuing a statement to WANE dismissing his assistance.
”We take the security of our schools very seriously,” the statement reads. “We understand he has a right to be out there, but we do not believe it adds to the safety of our students. At North Side, as at all of our schools, we have security procedures in place. In addition, at North Side, we have armed police officers in the building every day.”