Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, is not mincing words when it comes to what his county and school district are willing to do to keep children safe from potential armed threats on school property.
On Friday, Judd told reporters, “If you come to a school in this county, armed, we’re going to do our best through either our guardians, our school resource officers, or our school resource deputy sheriffs to eliminate the threat outside of the school before they ever get to the children. We’re trained to do that.”
“This is the last thing you’ll see before we put a bullet through your head if you’re trying to hurt our children,” Judd said while holding a picture of two police officers carrying firearms. “We are going to shoot you graveyard dead if you come onto a campus, with a gun, threatening our children or shooting at us.”
Judd’s comments came in reaction to the school shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, at Robb Elementary School.
The sheriff also commented on his deep remorse and mortification at the tragedy.
“I think, but for the grace of God, it could have been any one of us and our children or our grandchildren,” Judd said. He also criticized the fact that police waited nearly an hour to eliminate the threat, calling it “unacceptable.”
“When you take your children to school healthy and well in the morning, you have every right and expectation to receive them back in the afternoon in the same healthy state,” Judd added.
The sheriff was joined on stage by Ryan Petty, a Florida father whose daughter died in the Parkland, Florida, shooting on February 14, 2018. Petty is now an activist working to keep schools safe.
Petty advocates allowing teachers to carry firearms in school.
“Since the year 2000, there has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6:00 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns,” he explained via Twitter.
Since the year 2000, there has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6:00 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns. 2/ https://t.co/fivocF5EQD
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) May 27, 2022
“People fear teachers irresponsibly using guns or students obtaining a teacher’s gun,” Petty continued. “But none of that has happened. There has been only one accidental discharge by a teacher in recent years, and that was outside of school hours.”
“In Florida, we have the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program with rigorous training requirements,” he added while sharing a photo of himself with Grady during Friday’s event. “I’ve been through the training. It was tough and Guardians are required to pass marksmanship training with a higher proficiency score than law enforcement.”
In Florida, we have the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program with rigorous training requirements. I’ve been through the training. It was tough and Guardians are required to pass marksmanship training with a higher proficiency score than law enforcement. 4/ pic.twitter.com/cDjCUGrPia
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) May 27, 2022
Judd’s remarks can be seen here:
Sheriff Judd mixes no words (Polk County vernacular) when it comes to letting you know how he feels about keeping kids safe. We're praying for Uvalde. Have a safe and happy summer everyone. #PrayersForUvalde #UnitedWithUvalde pic.twitter.com/E7swt5oT55
— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 Grady Judd (@PolkCoSheriff) May 27, 2022