With thoughts on the week-old massive school killing in Connecticut, State Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, has asked Gov. Rick Scott to include law enforcement officers in elementary schools in his budget for next year.
While this no doubt will be an expensive proposition, no price tag can be placed on the lives of the precious children our public schools are entrusted with each and every day of the school year, Fasano wrote the governor on Friday.
Fasanos call comes as the National Rifle Association held a media event on Friday in Washington, D.C., in which CEO Wayne LaPierre made a similar plea to include armed security in all schools nationwide.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said.
LaPierres comments came as a push has grown for tighter restrictions on guns or at least a national discussion about weapons and the treatment of the mentally ill.
LaPierre supported the idea of a national database for the mentally ill, while defiantly casting the blame for such incidents as the Newtown shooting on violent video games and movies, the media and gun-free zones in schools.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, described the NRAs press conference as appalling in its insensitivity to Newtown parents and families and every parent in America clutching our hearts the past week.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, appearing on MSNBC, said that as a supporter of the Second Amendment and a supporter of the NRA -- even though Im not a member of the NRA -- I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now is talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms.
Fasano in his letter to Scott noted that the presence of resource officers has shown positive results in middle and high schools.
School resource officers are trained to understand the unique needs of children, in addition to their roles as enforcement officers, Fasano wrote.
SROs have proven time and again more than able to not only maintain a safe school environment, they often are able to see and help address needs that students may have both in and out of school.
Fasano's comments are somewhat supported by a report from the National Center for Educational Statistics, which found that school violence peaked in 1993, when there were 13 "serious violent crimes" per 1,000 students at primary and secondary schools, with the number dropping to four per 1,000 by 2010.
Scott, who will release his budget proposals before regular legislative session begins in March, has told Newsmax he may be open to the suggestion by state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, to end the state ban on guns in schools.
Scott, a gun rights supporter, has directed Floridas public schools to review their decade-old emergency procedures and further devise means to make campuses safer.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.