By Ashleigh Costello
MARLBORO, N.J. – In the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, a growing number of school districts are opting to arm teachers and hire police officers to prevent school violence.
Eight armed police officers have begun patrolling school district buildings in Marlboro, New Jersey, a well-to-do suburb near the Jersey Shore, reports Newsmax.
Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik said the increase in security was a proactive response to the Newtown Massacre, in which 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives.
“We’ve made a collective decision as a town that we need armed security in each of our schools,” said Hornik. “With this evil, you can’t just sit there and hope that it doesn’t happen in your town. We must protect our kids.”
Hornik said administrators also were considering adding reinforced steel entrances to the schools and installing security cameras.
“This isn’t a luxury item,” said Hornik. “This is a necessity, based on what we saw happen in Connecticut.”
The National Rifle Association has called for more armed security officers in schools, a move that may cost the nation’s cash-strapped districts more than $5 billion, according to news reports.
The nation’s two biggest teachers unions—the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers—are staunchly opposed the NRA’s proposal. They’re backing efforts by liberal lawmakers to implement stricter gun control laws, instead.
Many rank-and-file teachers, however, obviously disagree with their union’s politics.
More than 600 educators have signed up for a free “Armed Teacher Training Program” offered by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation in Ohio. Jim Irvine, president of the nonprofit organization, said the response has been widespread, including inquiries from educators from more than a dozen states.
School officials in several large cities – including Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, and Baltimore – already had armed officers in schools prior to the Newtown tragedy, according to Newsmax.