an AR-15 rifle Photo: Archivist/Flickr Creative Commons
Tue, Aug 19, 2014 11:09 AM EDT

Students in Compton Unified School District returned for their first day of classes on Monday to school police who will soon be armed with a new weapon--AR-15 assault rifles. 

The school board in South Central Los Angeles' Compton passed a policy in July allowing school police to carry the rifles in the trunks of their cars while on duty for use in the event of a school shooting. Increasingly, Compton schools police argued, school shooters are wearing body armor, and the guns school police already carry are insufficient for penetrating that kind of protection, KPCC reported. 

Compton, a historically black city, is still majority people-of-color, but is in fact these days predominantly Latino. One in three Compton residents is black, while 65 percent of the city is Latino, according to the 2010 Census.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic about AR-15s in schools. Community members have raised alarm about the change. Latino families filed a lawsuit against Compton school police in 2013 alleging that they discriminated against Latino families.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, Colorlines went to South Los Angeles to ask school kids their opinion about the calls for increased militarization of their schools. While young people were concerned about police officers receiving extra weaponry, students were also concerned about the basic presence of police in schools.

Listen to the KPCC report for more.