Education

Superintendent: Armed teachers not the answer for NC

Posted April 2, 2013

— Teachers with guns are not the answer for North Carolina public schools, state superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said Tuesday in response to a plan laid out in a study sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

"What is really important is that the professionals take care of safety in our schools," Atkinson said. "We don't need our teachers or principals to have yet another burden of having to think about guns ... Just having a person with a gun in a school is not the total answer."

NC looks for layers of school security NC looks for layers of school security

Atkinson noted that 55 percent of the state's public high schools and middle schools have professional safety officers, all of whom have the authority to have a gun inside the schools.

Atkinson says she supports a comprehensive approach to security that gets to the root causes of violence and allows schools to employ more counselors, psychologists and social workers.

"We do need to take additional measures to make sure parents feel comfortable with their children in school," she said. "Each state needs to address its needs, and we don’t necessarily need a national organization to provide input or to provide the solutions."

State Department of Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan said Tuesday that armed school resource officers are "just one of the many options already in place or under consideration."

"It is a decision that school districts must consider carefully and thoughtfully. Ultimately, it is up to each individual school district," he said.

NRA reps present plan for school safety

In releasing the NRA's plan, Asa Hutchinson, a Republican and former Congressman from Arkansas, said, every school would be better off with armed security but allowed that those decisions should be made at the local level. 

The NRA recommended that schools train selected staff members to carry weapons and have at least one armed security officer.

"The presence of an armed security personnel in a school adds a layer of security and diminishes the response time that is beneficial to the overall security," said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said security could be provided by trained staff members or by school resource officers — police officers assigned to schools that some districts already have.

The report was released a week before the Senate plans to begin debating gun control legislation.

The NRA opposes the main feature of the legislation, an expansion of background checks to cover nearly all gun purchases. But the group has long said the school safety study would be an important response to last December's massacre of first-graders and staff members at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

NRA-sponsored school safety study suggests arming staff members NRA-sponsored school safety study suggests arming staff members

At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said administration officials were working with lawmakers to try to reach a compromise on legislation that could be supported by both parties.

"The president has always recognized that this is something that would be a challenge but that in the wake of the horrific shootings in Newtown was an obligation of all of us to work on and try to get done," Carney said.

The spokesman commented as the White House revealed the president plans a trip next week to Connecticut, scene of the horrific shooting that spurred the new push for gun-control legislation. The aim of Obama's trip is to build pressure on Congress to pass legislation.

Obama also plans to focus on firearms curbs in a trip Wednesday to Denver, not far from last summer's mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

Obama and his allies — mostly Democrats — are trying to bolster prospects that Congress will approve gun legislation. Chances of such action on Capitol Hill have waned since the Newtown shootings.

The 225-page NRA study, which Hutchinson said cost more than $1 million, made eight recommendations. They included changing state laws that might bar a trained school staff member from carrying a firearm, NRA-provided online assessments that schools could make of their safety procedures and better coordination with law enforcement agencies.

NRA school safety findings

The study drew immediate opposition from the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.5 million teachers and other workers.

"Today's NRA proposal is a cruel hoax that will fail to keep our children and schools safe," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "It is simply designed to assist gun manufacturers" to flood the nation with more guns and large magazine clips.

Hutchinson said the NRA dropped an earlier recommendation that retired police officers and other volunteers be armed to provide school safety. He said the idea encountered "great reluctance" from school superintendents.

The NRA had suggested the retired officer idea just days after the Newtown killings.

Several NRA-supplied security guards were at Tuesday's event — unusual for an announcement at the National Press Club, a building that houses offices for many news organizations.

Hutchinson said the NRA did not interfere with his task force's work. In a written statement, the NRA said the report "will go a long way to making America's schools safer."

191 Comments

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  • Grand Union Apr 3, 1:42 p.m.

    "BTW... as a Life Member of the NRA and a reader of their publications I can tell you that you really know absolutely nothing about the NRA (which is normal for Liberals). Almost every time you mention them you're wrong about them. I usually don't bother correcting you though because it would take all day and you still wouldn't learn a thing."

    typical comment....everyone knows nothing, you knows everything but curiously can never actually back up any of your claims with actual facts. And you are a member of the NRA?....quelle suprise!

  • junkmail5 Apr 3, 8:49 a.m.

    I'm not sure you understand what is going on here or, you refuse to see!!! Don't question my understanding of what the UN and obama are doing- Rushbot

    yes, they're doing virtually nothing that does any of the things you suggest.

    Those of us without tinfoil hats recognize that the UN treaty, and in fact ANY treaty of any kind, is entirely non-binding on the US unless ratified by the Senate to start with.

    You apparently don't know that.

    Roughly two thirds of the senate opposes it... only about 1/3rd needs to to stop it.

    You apparently didn't know that.

    And even THEN the treaty puts no restrictions on domestic arms trade OR the right to bear arms inside a given nation. It's a treaty on INTERNATIONAL arms trading.

    You apparently didn't know that either.

  • rushbot Apr 2, 7:59 p.m.

    Good nite all, thanks for participating in Freedom of Speech!!!

  • Ripcord Apr 2, 7:58 p.m.

    "The NRA's suggestion is nothing more than a press statement to make people like you think they are actually doing something." - WooHoo

    Wait a second... I thought the NRA was constantly lobbying and controlling politicians? So either they're doing something or they aren't, WooHoo... make up your mind.

    BTW... as a Life Member of the NRA and a reader of their publications I can tell you that you really know absolutely nothing about the NRA (which is normal for Liberals). Almost every time you mention them you're wrong about them. I usually don't bother correcting you though because it would take all day and you still wouldn't learn a thing.

  • mep Apr 2, 7:56 p.m.

    The NRA's suggestion is nothing more than a press statement to make people like you think they are actually doing something. Do you know why the Film Industry is not regulated in terms of age limits on movies (such as an "R"rating)? Because they SELF REGULATED so they government would not step in...the NRA's fatal flaw is they will not bend or compromise.

    WooHoo2You

    Same could be said about govt.... passing "feel good" laws that do nothing but compromise law abiding citizens rights. Those new "laws" will NOT stop a crazy person intent upon killing others. Not even if you hold up the paper the law is written on and show it to the shooter. LOL.

  • WooHoo2You Apr 2, 7:56 p.m.

    Pretty naive to believe big tobacco hands out millions of dollars out of the kindness of their hearts so folks WONT buy their products. LOL.... LOL some more.-mep

    Facts are not naive...they are facts.

  • cjw6105 Apr 2, 7:55 p.m.

    Yes, June, by all means keep guns out of the public schools. Negotiating would be a better tactic than armed guards when confronting a shooter, and if this doesn't work, then I suggest that school administrators use their bodies as shields, to protect students.

    Like in Connecticut.

  • WooHoo2You Apr 2, 7:54 p.m.

    Mayor Bloomberg has a spot for you on his "government knows best" team.-mep

    While the NRA suggests the GOVERNMENT keep our kids safe at GOVERNMENT schools with GOVERNMENT guards holding GOVERNMENT weapons paid for with your taxes dollars...do you listen to yourself????

  • rushbot Apr 2, 7:53 p.m.

    stymieindurham said at 1948: ""I'm not sure you understand how treaties work. They don't supersede the constitution. They fundamentally can not do so." ============================================================ ==== I'm not sure you understand what is going on here or, you refuse to see!!! Don't question my understanding of what the UN and obama are doing. I understand fully!!! Do You???".. .. ..please explain exactly what you mean here, I don't follow..thanks..

  • Spock Apr 2, 7:52 p.m.

    The better solution here is to quit "TRYING" to educating the criminals - do not allow them even close to an educational area. They do not want to be there, yet we REQUIRE the delinquents to attend school.

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