Sandy Hook Elementary students returned to another facility today under the protection of armed security guards which the National Rifle Association recommended after the Dec. 14 massacre that killed 26 people, including 20 children.
Although the children returned to classrooms with their old desks and furniture, they were relocated to an unused school facility nearby. But the most noticeable difference may be the presence of armed police officers.
Monroe, Conn., Police Lt. Keith White confirmed that officers would be in and around the school but that their presence would hopefully not be a distraction to students.
“We want this to be a normal school where they can go and enjoy themselves and learn throughout the day,” White told reporters. “I think right now, we have to make this the safest school in America.”
Within moments of the school shooting, gun control advocates including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others began calling for a ban on assault weapons. The conversation grew intense in the days following with proponents of gun rights arguing that the debate should instead focus on mental health issues and how to identify those who have the ability and desire to commit such heinous crimes.
But a week and a day later, the NRA held a press conference that focused on the need to place more armed personnel – whether they are police officers or school officials with access to weapons – on school grounds.
“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, and to do it now,” NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said.
LaPierre’s comments pointed to the fact that armed security are routinely seen at airports, banks and athletic events and that providing the same or similar protection for school children only makes sense.
“If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the security that is only available with a properly trained – armed – good guy,” commented LaPierre.