Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays superintedents have both responded to statements made on Friday by the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre on the Sandy Hook Tragedy in which he called for armed guards at every school in America.
"School security is a complex issue. Placing an armed guard in every school is not a panacea," said Mike Radday, superintendent of Westhampton Beach Schools. "Securing our schools must be a collaborative effort involving educators, law enforcement, mental health professionals, elected officials, parents, and the greater community."
Lars Clemensen issued a similar statement: "This is a topic that has really strong opinions on all sides, and I think that as school leaders, the debate about making schools safer must be done carefully and inclusively of all perspectives, not just the NRA or anti-gun advocates. There are many other aspects to this issue that include law enforcement, mental health awareness, and public safety. A well-balance debate on what it really takes to make schools safer requires the thorough contribution from all those areas."
LaPierre's comments are the first from the NRA, breaking a weeklong silence by the gun organization.
Aside from urging congress to enact legislation that puts armed guards in every school and pay for it through the U.S. budget for foreign aid, he blasted the media and entertainment industry for promoting and glorifying violence in what he called a “dirty little truth.” He called it “a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people.”
- Related:You can read a full transcript of the NRA press conference here on the Washington Post website.
Already, Congressman Tim Bishop attacked the idea. In a post on Twitter, he wrote, "Outraged by NRA speech today. Militarizing our schools? More guns? They are incapable of being part of the solution."
Local residents also had thoughts. On Westhampton-Hampton Bays Patch's Facebook page, Kerry Takacs wrote, "I think the job should be given to Veterans. I never felt safer than when I lived on base" and Karen Butcher Worrell agreed, "That's a great idea. There are too many unemployed vets. They could use the job opportunities."
What do you think? Should we post armed guards in our schools to protect our children from another tragedy like at Newtown?