The National Rifle Association (NRA) has recommended that all schools hire armed security guards, but the Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury, Massachusetts, replaced its guards with art teachers instead (video below).
Orchard Gardens has had problems with violence since its founding in 2003. By 2010, the pilot school for grades K-8 was ranked in the bottom five public schools in the state.
However, Andrew Bott, the school's sixth principal, turned Orchard Gardens around.
“We got rid of the security guards,” Bott told NBC News. “A lot of my colleagues really questioned the decision. A lot of people actually would say to me, ‘You realize that Orchard Gardens is a career killer? You know, you don't want to go to Orchard Gardens.’”
Bott brought in art teachers, opened the dance studio that had been shuttered and banned backpacks, which students had hidden weapons in.
Today, Orchard Gardens' test scores are better, the school is safer and it has one of the fastest student improvement rates in the state.
“We have our occasional, typical adolescent ... problems,” Bott added. “But nothing that is out of the normal for any school.”
Source: NBC News