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Teachers respond to NRA call for guns in schools

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 1/4/2013, 4:01 p.m.
Ban assault weapons, launch an assault on poverty

On the other side though, some do not dismiss the NRA plan completely.

"I absolutely agree that there should be armed guards to protect the buildings, but they should not have any contact with the children," said Karriem Ahmed, former children's counselor at the Administration for Children's Services. "But to have armed teachers is a recipe for disaster. However, armed security exclusively responsible for securing the building while being completely barred from interacting directly with the children may be reasonable.

"When I was at ASC, I worked at a semi-residential facility. There was one private security company where they did have armed guards, whose job was to secure the building from outside invasion or any other threat to the building. They had no interaction with the children. But we also had unarmed peace officers whose job was to manage violent children."

With 5,000 school safety officers in the city's public schools, supplemented by 3,000-plus on-call NYPD officers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also slammed the NRA's idea.

Referencing the NRA press conference where LaPierre proposed the armed teachers and guards concept, Bloomberg said, "The NRA's Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been as apparent, as [LaPierre's] press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America, where everyone is armed and no place is safe.

"Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis," Bloomberg continued. "The NRA's lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives--not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls and streets. Enough.

"As a country, we must rise above special interest politics. Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns. That's why 74 percent of NRA members support common sense restrictions like criminal background checks for anyone buying a gun. It is time for Americans who care about the Second Amendment and reasonable gun restrictions to join together to work with the president and Congress to stop the gun violence in this country. Demand a plan."

Despite the fact that some U.S. schools employ armed security, opponents like the Brooklyn principals reject the idea.

"Didn't Columbine High School have armed guards?" asked the Fort Greene principal. "Didn't those two maniacs still murder 12 students? As for the NRA and its fearless leader, they are simply about getting more guns into people's hands. All that does is make for the possibility of these unfortunate incidents to happen regularly.

"The answer to the problem of the occasional attack by the mentally ill is not to condition our children to accept guns in their everyday life, as if we expect the incident that happened in Connecticut to happen on a regular basis. They say that Adam Lanza was mentally disturbed. So instead of pushing guns on our school corridors, what we need to focus on is how to develop some reforms for servicing the mentally ill."