Obama Pushes Gun Control, Newtown Parents Push to Keep Cops in Schools
President Obama and progressives haven't been shy about using the Sandy Hook shooting to promote more gun control, but back in Newtown, parents and the superintendent are demanding more security in the form of armed police on school campus.
School Superintendent Janet Robinson has received as many as 300 emails from parents concerned about ongoing security at their child's school. In response, Ms. Robinson says she has "told the police we need them." She has personally noticed that some students at Sandy Hook Elementary, which reopened last week at a new location, are still too anxious to go outside. She believes a law enforcement presence will help allay their anxiety about safety.
At a board of education meeting Tuesday night, Amy Roman, whose two sons attend Newtown schools, asked administrators to maintain the police presence at every school in the district. At least two other parents made similar requests during the public comment portion of the meeting. The Chairman of the Board of Education, Debbie Leidlein, suggested school security should become the top budget priority in the coming year. There was unanimous agreement with her request.
This openness to a permanent security presence at schools is very much in line with the recommendation made by the NRA one week after the shooting took place. Wayne LaPierre called for placing armed officers in every school in the United States. His proposal was mocked by the left as a suggestion that more guns was the answer to gun violence, but it seems quite a few parents in Newtown, CT agree with LaPierre's proposal in principle, whatever their views on gun control might be.
Meanwhile, President Obama has put Vice President Biden in charge of a push for gun control. The Vice President's final recommendations have not yet been made, but he is expected to call for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, as well as a more strict procedure for background checks. Biden has said that the President may use his executive authority to bypass Congress on some measures.
There has been no response from the White House on the idea of placing cops in schools. President Clinton created a program to add police to schools after the Columbine shooting. Currently, there are tens of thousands of School Resource Officers in place in US schools, most of them at high schools. However, funding for the Clinton-era program has been cut over the past five years. The cost to place an officer in every public school which doesn't already have one would be significant, likely more than $5 billion dollars a year.