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Is armed security on campus the answer?

By Aaron Luna, KXLY4 Reporter / Weather Anchor , aaronl@kxly.com
Published On: Jan 18 2013 08:17:24 PM CST
Sandy Hook children evacuating

Newton Bee

In what has become an iconic image, crying schoolchildren are seen being lead from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the morning gunman Adam Lanza massacred 20 students and six adults.

SPOKANE, Wash. -

The call is out nationwide: What can we do now to protect our kids while they're in school? It's a question every school district is now facing, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

So what now? What can schools do to strengthen security and keep students safe? And does the debate over gun restrictions put responsible, legal gun owners at risk?

A lot of ideas have been put out there when it comes to school safety including arming school staff members. Now President Obama is recommending first responders and school staff undergo active shooter training.

School shootings happen so infrequently that it's compared to being struck by lightning.

"Unfortunately it's not usually a matter of if it's going to occur again it's a matter of when," Jim Sporleder, president of the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, said.

But if everyone knows not to stand near a metal pole in a thunderstorm then the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting could be the bolt that  sparks a change in school safety.

"It really helps in some ways just to start the conversation. What would you do if?" Sporleder said.

Sporleder added that since Sandy Hook is company's active shooter safety training has increased locally and regionally.

"It helps push people through that disbelief mode into actually understanding and believing, this is actually happening and now what can I do immediately to maximize my ability to get through this thing," he said.

Another idea being spread around is putting more guns in schools in the hands of security officers.

"Fortunately 90-95 percent of the time what we're dealing with is actual school issues," Sheila Leslie, president of Phoenix Protective Corporation, said.

Leslie added that armed security is not a new idea just a renewed idea. Recently the Ridgefield School District in southwestern Washington hired two armed officers for its three campuses.

"Districts that we've already worked with have increased some of their staffing levels and obviously new interest but not just in schools," Leslie said.

Phoenix has officers in six school districts and 17 schools in Washington.

"When our kids are at school that's where they should feel safe and we're just a little tiny piece of that puzzle," she said.

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