Monroe, CT – Armed guards will be stationed to protect the children of Sandy Hook Elementary school as they return to class. The children are not returning to their old school but instead to the former Chalk Hill Middle School, which was renamed in deference to allowing healing to begin. They are apparently following the National Rifle Association’s suggestion for keeping children safe from further school shootings like which happened last month in Newtown.
In addition, another requirement is unfortunately necessary after one of the worst school massacres in US history: keeping the nosy media out. Superintendent Janet Robinson told CTPost.com that no media were allowed near the school in order to protect people’s privacy:
“The close of a year and the beginning of another usually causes one to contemplate the highlights or events of the past year. Certainly, for all of us in the Newtown community, whatever else happened in 2012 pales in comparison to the tragic December 14 event. All of us as parents and educators do all that we can to protect our children and the loss of those vulnerable little first-graders and the adults who worked with them has shaken us all to the core.”
Monroe Police Lt. Kevin White is in charge of the increased law enforcement security presence which includes the armed guards:
“This has to be the safest school in America.”
Following the school shooting tragedy, some people had suggested that we arm the teachers. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the NRA suggested a so-called “Model School Shield Program” that would offer gun training to those willing. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre explained the rationale for this idea at a December 21 news conference:
“As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
The meat of the NRA proposal focuses on arming the teachers and other school personnel in order to protect themselves. Keep in mind that guns have been in the classroom in Israel since the 1970s and in some Texas schools for about five years, so this is not exactly a new concept. Many school systems already have armed police guards at schools. Although Israel has been blunt that their solution to school violence is focused on combating terrorism and not on the type of problems facing America.
A serious criticism of this plan would include the fact that an armed police officer named Deputy Gardner was stationed at Columbine when that school shooting took place. So based upon history, any plan like the Model School Shield Program will over the long term not be 100 percent effective in preventing school shootings.
At the same time, it can be argued that, because of armed guards, the Columbine shooters were busy with suppressing gunfire from the police and were prevented from killing more students. Having armed guard at the school also gave students a chance to escape. Deputy Gardner and the other armed first responders evacuated nearly 2,000 students and over 100 school faculty. Can you imagine the possible number of dead if Deputy Gardner had not been stationed at the Columbine school?
Critics of this idea claim that banning the most deadly weapons would save more lives. According to CNSNews.com, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called LaPierre’s speech “a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country.” Even Republicans like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie believes that “we should be able to figure out other ways to enhance safety.” Senator Charles Schumer summarized this camp’s position:
“What about trying to stop the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place? That’s common sense.”
Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told Salon that armed guards come with their own problems:
“It’s kind of fantasy thinking to assume that armed citizens are going to take out the bad guy and that nothing will go wrong.”
They also point out that hiring armed guards for every school would get extremely expensive very quickly. Discounting expense, guns could also be “discovered by a suicidal student, unintentionally fired by a child or even inadvertently set off by a police officer, like this Oakland, California, cop who shot himself in front of a classroom full of students three years ago.” They also point to the recent Empire State Building shooting, where inaccurate police gun fire injured nine pedestrians while they were subduing one shooter.
Despite these opinions, people are already taking action. Policemen are now stationed at public schools in Marlboro, New Jersey. Other school systems may follow Marlboro’s lead according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Do you think other school schools should follow the lead of Sandy Hook Elementary school and hire armed guards?