Schools React to Newtown Shooting With Armed Teachers, Police

Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 12:49 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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Armed teachers and police in the hallways seem to be the answer to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. — at least judging from reactions of a handful of school districts, so far.

In Columbus, Ohio, a free training program will give teachers the knowledge they need to effectively use firearms. According to the program's coordinator, the response has been huge.

"We're up over 650 people just from Ohio. It's really been an overwhelming response," Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, told the Dayton Daily News.

Since Ohio state law allows all school staff members to carry firearms if the school board approves, Irvine said the program would offer more training than is required simply to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

As of Wednesday, armed police officers are taking up stations at nine schools in the New Jersey suburb of Marlboro.

"We've made a collective decision as a town that we need armed security in each of our schools," Jonathan Hornik, mayor of the well-to-do town of 40,000 near the Jersey Shore, told the New York Post. "With this new evil, you can't just sit there and hope that it doesn’t happen in your town. We must protect our kids."

Hornik said administrators also were considering adding reinforced steel entrances to the schools — one kindergarten, five elementary, two middle and one high school — as well as security cameras everywhere.

"This isn't a luxury item. This is a necessity, based on what we saw happen in Connecticut," Hornik said.

No other school districts in New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut have put armed guards in place at schools since the Dec. 14 Newtown school shooting in which 26 died, 20 of them children.

The National Rifle Association has called for arming teachers and armed guards in schools, while the country's two biggest teachers' groups — the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — in a joint statement called the proposal "astounding and disturbing," according to Discovery News.

Several large cities, including Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, and Baltimore, have had armed officers in schools, either contracting with local police forces or recruiting their own dedicated security staff. Other cities, including Boston and New York, place unarmed security officers in schools, the New York Times reported.

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