Armed Guards for Returning Sandy Hook Students

Susan Jones | January 3, 2013 | 8:22am EST
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A woman hugs a child before he boards a bus on the first day of classes after the holiday break, in Newtown, Conn., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

( - When children from Sandy Hook Elementary school return to class in neighboring Monroe, Conn. today, they'll be entering "the safest school in America," according to the Associated Press.

"Law enforcement officers have been guarding the new school, and by the reckoning of police, it is 'the safest school in America,'" the AP reported Thursday.

"I think right now it has to be the safest school in America," Monroe police Lt. Keith White was quoted as saying.

Having armed guards in schools is the National Rifle Association's suggestion for keeping children safe from the kind of terror that happened last month in Newtown, Conn.

"As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said at a Dec. 21 news conference. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.

LaPierre noted that five years ago, after the Virginia Tech mass-shooting, he called for armed security guards in every school, and the media "called me crazy."

"But what if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security?" LaPierre asked. "Will you at least admit it's possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?"

LaPierre urged Congress "to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January."

And that's exactly what they're doing for the children at Sandy Hook Elementary, who are now returning to class under a "blanket of safety."

LaPierre's suggestion to put armed guards in all schools was met with howls of outrage, as summarized by the New York Daily News:

"What about trying to stop the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place? That’s common sense," said Sen. Charles Schumer.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called LaPierre's speech “a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country.”

Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who represents Newtown in Congress, tweeted that it was "the most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen."

A number of Republicans also dismissed the NRA's suggestion: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said schools shouldn't be "an armed camp" because that wouldn't set a "positive example" for children. "We should be able to figure out other ways to enhance safety," Christie said.

However, policemen are now stationed at public schools in Marlboro, N.J., and other school systems may follow Marlboro's lead, the New  Jersey Star-Ledger reported on Wednesday.

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