Newtown Votes for Armed Guards in Elementary Schools

The Atlantic Wire

As the nation continues to confront the concept of "good guys with guns" in schools, armed guards are coming in force to Newtown, Connecticut. Late Thursday the Newtown Board of Education voted to request the presence of two kinds of guards inside the town's elementary schools. The vote, for now, only represents a request — it still needs to clear budget and logistical boundaries since the guards would come from the town's police resources as opposed to the school board itself. But the plan "would put two eyes and ears -- one armed, one unarmed -- at each Newtown school," reports Bronxville Patch's Davis Dunavin. The guards, officially called school resource officers (SROs), were already a fixture at all Newtown schools in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, but until this vote they were budgeted only to be a presence at middle and high Schools, according to NBC Connecticut

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From reports of the school-board meeting, concerned parents cited the Sandy Hook shootings as their reason for backing an armed-guard policy. "The only thing that stopped that guy that day was when the two Newtown police burst in the building," one parent is quoted as saying in the Patch story. "You all know that." Which sounds eerily familiar to the NRA's "good guy with a gun" talking point, even though the Obama administration has backed armed guards if schools want them. One of President Obama's 23 executive actions on gun violence includes the following order: "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations."

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The rest of the country seems to slightly favor armed guards in schools. According to a January 15 poll from CNN, 54 percent of Americans would approve of putting armed guards in every school, while 45 percent opposed.

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The Newtown decision comes in a week when emotional locals — including parents of the Sandy Hook victims — spoke out about gun legislation and gun-violence awareness.

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