NRA proposal heats up debate over school safety


Paul Vetter is a parent with kids attending Oakland schools. He fears the presence of armed guards will send students the wrong message.

Students could get the message that they're not safe anywhere and that the only safety "comes from outside, from someone else who is willing to wave a gun around," he said.

Oakland Unified already has its own, very small police force costing the district millions of dollars. Jody London, a school board member, raised questions about how much it would cost to have an armed guard in every school.

"I've got 90 schools in Oakland," she said. "Some schools are pretty large and they might need more than one [armed guard]. How much is that going to cost us and who is going to pay for it?"

Charles Ramsey is a school board member with the West Contra Costa School District. He agrees the proposal is financially unrealistic, but admits the few armed officers at some of the high schools in his district have yielded results.

"We've had no shootings or gun-related incidents since we've deployed police officers on campus starting four years ago," he said.

Four years ago, Richmond High was the scene of a brutal gang rape. Cameras were added and so were officers.

Jim Rogers is a parent and the vice mayor of Richmond. He's on the fence about the NRA proposal.

"I think the advantage would be that perhaps in some cases when these shootings do occur, a police officer could respond to it," he said.

He says, if anything, this proposal has opened up the discussion of how to keep kids safe at school.

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