In wake of the Newtown shooting, schools reexamine security measures

NPR’s “All Things Considered” discussion of the Connecticut school shooting looked at the state of security in schools and the call by some school officials for armed police officers on campus. Mo Canady of the National Association of School Resource Officers, which trains most of the nation’s 10,000 school police officers, said arming teachers or administrators, as some have suggested, is another matter.

According to Canady, “There’s a part of me that just kind of cringes at the liability of a school district doing that. Now, … , there are certainly some advocates for that, but it is a dangerous and slippery path to be on.” However, Francisco Negrón, General Counsel for the National School Boards Association, said the Newtown shooting could change some people’s minds about that.

Negrón said, “It is a turning point. Now, the focus is on an external shooter. And so, I think schools are going to try to understand whether or not they need to change their policies accordingly.”  What those changes will be, Negrón noted, it’s hard to say. But school safety policies in the short term will probably shift to more sophisticated surveillance technology and a greater law enforcement presence in all schools.

Source:  NPR, 12/17/12, By Claudio Sanchez

[Editor's Note: You may also listen to the audio version of the All Things Considered segment. NSBA has also provided a School Safety & Security resources page with links to American School Board Journal articles, research, and resources for school attorneys.

A video recording is available of the launch of the first-ever U.S. Action Plan for Children in Adversity by the Obama Administration.  A transcript of President Obama's remarks on gun control is also available. NSBA's General Counsel Francisco Negron also spoke with C-SPAN's "Washington Journal", offering his perspective on how school boards across the U.S. develop and implement emergency plans.

In the December 14, 2012 edition of TribLive, Mike Wereschagin and Bill Vidonic reported that Pennsylvania school districts are grappling with need for armed guards. In this edition, Negrón pointed out that each layer of security owes its existence to tragedies such as the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. He also noted that Newtown likely will leave its own legacy. According to Negrón, most school shootings involved a troubled student. This shooting, reportedly by a man whose mother taught at the elementary school, would “now focus the conversation toward the external person coming in, and how schools will deal with that.” ]

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