A request by the National Rifle Association asking for federal support of a plan putting armed police officers in schools was met with swift opposition Friday from the head of the Great Neck School District.
Resonding to the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in Washington Friday blamed violent video games, the press and the lack of armed security at schools for increasingly violent culture.
It was announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Arkansas, will guide an NRA program to develop an armed security plan for schools.
"I call on Congress today 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" said LaPierre.
LaPierre added: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Great Neck Superintendent of School Thomas Dolan reacted swiftly and sharply to LaPierre's statement.
Calling the NRA's plan an "obvious diversion" to put the problem back onto the institutions that are suffering from funding issues and the horrors of automatic weapons, Dolan said there was no logic to the idea of guns in schools.
In a written statement slamming the NRA's comments, Dolan said there is no place for a gun, or an armed policeman in schools.
"Whether held by an armed policeman or any other person, the presence of a gun implies a lack of safety, a need for violence and tacit approval that shooting a person is just another activity that might occur in any given day," said Dolan. "Our children are not now exposed to that message in schools, nor should they be."
The world could be made a safer more by decreasing the presence of guns, and it could be done more quickly than the time it would take to get funding to place armed guards in schools, according to Dolan.
"Is the NRA so flush with funds that they do not know that schools and municipalities are struggling to find funding for our most essential functions?" said Dolan.
Dolan cited former Supreme Court Earl Justice Warren's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which noted that schools are special places where students learn from everything they experience.
Students who see guns in schools will expect that they are there to go off, according to Dolan — who said he opposes ownership of semi-automatic weapons by private citizens.
"There is a literary technique called “Chekhov’s Gun". It asserts that if there is a rifle hanging on the wall in Act One, then in the Second or Third Act it must go off. If it’s not going to be fired it should not be hanging there," said Dolan.
- See complete NRA transcript here.
- See PDF of Dolan's statement in photo section.