NPR reports that a National Rifle Association (NRA) task force has issued a report, in response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, recommending the creation of programs that give additional weapons training to school resource officers as well as “selected and designated school personnel” who could then carry arms. The task force is also recommending to that states that haven’t already got such laws on the books that they consider changing their statutes to allow trained school personnel, including teachers, to be armed while on the job.
Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who led the task force, said one of the main reasons to have more armed personnel in schools is to cut “response time” to attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was among organizations that issued statements critical of the task force’s report. “It is important to create a culture of trust between students and teachers, and arming teachers is the antithesis of that,” said Laura Murphy, director of ACLU’s Washington legislative office. The National Education Association, which represents 3 million educators, says “guns have no place in our schools. Period.”
Among the other suggestions in the task force’s report:
Creation of an “online self assessment tool” that school administrators could use to gauge the adequacy of their districts’ security programs
Changes in state education policies to require that school districts conduct safety assessments.
That the NRA continue the “National School Shield” program launched by the task force and turn it into an “umbrella organization to advocate and support school safety.”
Hutchinson told reporters that there is “no guarantee the NRA will accept these recommendations.” He said one proposal, to arm retired police officers and other volunteers and have them patrol schools, was dropped due to opposition from school superintendents.
Source: NPR, 4/2/13, By Mark Memmott
[Editor's Note: In March 2013, Legal Clips summarized a story on WZZM13.com reporting that the Rockford Public Schools approved a new “weapons-free school zone” policy for the district that prohibits any unauthorized firearms on campuses. The Rockford policy does not allow any weapons on school property, unless the person carrying the weapon is a police officer or other law enforcement official, or a person authorized by the superintendent to bring it onto school grounds for educational or security purposes.
In January 2013, Legal Clips summarized an article in Education Week in which Francisco M. Negrón Jr., the National School Boards Association’s General Counsel, praised the response of school officials in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings and provided advice for other school districts.]