South Florida educators react to NRA

NRA clear on gun debate stance: Arm schools

Published On: Dec 21 2012 06:05:10 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 22 2012 06:42:30 PM EST

Educators in South Florida reacted to the National Rifle Associations proposal to place armed police officers in every school in the nation, which was made one week after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

After one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history -- 20 children and seven adults killed, not including the gunman -- polls show that a slight majority of Americans favor restrictions on guns. Conservative Democrats and even some Republicans who have supported gun rights have said they are open to discussing gun control.

But the NRA made its position clear: The prominent gun rights organization will not budge an inch toward discussion of gun control. To the contrary, the group announced it will fund a team that will design a program to get armed security personnel on school grounds across the country.

"You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said.

But what if the gunman, Adam Lanza, had been confronted by a trained security guard?

"Will you at least admit it's possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?" LaPierre asked.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.

In South Florida, Miami-Dade Public Schools has its own police force of 151 officers, 35 of whom are assigned permanently to high schools where most problems occur. In Broward County, the school district has 136 police officers, one in every high school and middle school.

But neither school district can afford to station an officer in every school, something LaPierre said needs to happen.

"We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work -- and by that I mean armed security," he said, reading from a prepared statement. "I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation."

Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho offered no comment on the NRA's proposal to put an armed officer in every school, but said he is planning a summit with South Florida leaders to explore how to increase security at all schools, both public and parochial.

"Let us come together right after the new year and have every single mayor and every single chief of police, everyone is concerned, all social agencies come together and develop the best in the nation model of an envelope of security for all of our schools," said Carvalho.

Carvalho said schools should be safe zones with security but without firearms.