Parents react to NRA's plan to arm teachers

April 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's been more than 3 months since the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary took the lives of 20 children. Since then, there has been a lot of talk about how to keep our schools safe. On Tuesday, the NRA released a report suggesting school employees carry guns. The latest controversy has sparked much debate about guns in schools.

As the gun control debate intensified on Capitol Hill, Central Valley parents are talking about a proposal suggesting teachers arm themselves inside classrooms. "Personally, I'm all for guns and to an extent where you know and are trained to know how to use one," said Fresno parent Antoinette Osuna.

On Tuesday, the NRA released its proposal on school safety as a way to keep tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary from happening again. One recommendation raising many eyebrows is having campus staff arm themselves either through security officers or teachers trained to carry a firearm.

"That can reduce the response time and save lives," said Asa Hutchinson, the director of the National School Shield Taskforce.

But not everyone is on board with the NRA's plan, including some school officials here in the Valley. "I'm pleased that they're interested in trying to make schools safe. I don't know that what they came up with provided us with the kind of opportunity I want," said Larry Powell, Superintendent of Fresno County Office of Education. He said it's important to have these conversations but doesn't think arming school staff is the best approach. "I only favor sworn officers having guns on campus. Not teachers or support staff. No matter how much training you do, I don't think you can have a level of a sworn office," said Powell.

Powell does agree with one recommendation, however, that schools have some way of identifying their safety through an online self-assessment. But still, some parents say they would feel more comfortable knowing someone is watching over their kids with added protection. "If they were to be trained properly to know how to fire a gun and take care of it and put it away properly, I would say it's okay," said Osuna.


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