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Schools and guns: should armed officers or teachers be on campus?

NEW YORK — Students around the country are heading back to class this week, bringing with it the usual excitement and anxiety but also fears and concerns over school safety.

In the past decade, dozens have been killed in school shootings, including 17 victims in a shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

President Donald Trump has floated the idea of arming teachers to prevent such attacks — a move critics condemn as the president simply doing the bidding of the gun lobby.

Schools are increasingly responding by bringing in guards, with more than half of all campuses adding one or more security guards at least once a week. Elementary schools are increasing guards at an even more dramatic rate.

More than 200,000 students attend Nassau County schools, where some districts follow the path of unarmed officers and others choose to arm school security.

“I wish that 100 percent, we could shut it down, but we can’t," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "Unless we turn around and fortify every school, and we set up locked doors with steel entries, and arm security, and everyone gets vetted as they come in, everyone goes through a metal detector; but even then, we can probably get a shooting that would occur."

The focus needs to be on training, according to Ryder.

"We’ve trained all 450 principals, we've trained every superintendent, all on how to act in an active shooter situation; they go back and they train in their school," Ryder said.

In addition, every Nassau County school is equipped with the Rave app, allowing multiple school leaders to summon police with the press of a button.

Learn more about the use of training and technology from Ryder:


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