McAuliffe calls for officers at elementary schools
December 19th, 2012
03:59 PM ET
5 years ago

McAuliffe calls for officers at elementary schools

(CNN) – Terry McAuliffe, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in Virginia's gubernatorial race, called for extending the option of school resource officers to elementary schools.

In a statement Wednesday, McAuliffe said last week's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that resulted in 20 children and six adults dead "remind(s) us that we must take any reasonable action to make our children safer."

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"One change we can make now to keep Virginia's children safe is passing legislation to help localities provide School Resource Officers for elementary schools that request it," said McAuliffe, adding that trained officers are already present in many of the state's middle and high schools.

"These officers are professionals who are specifically trained to respond to dangerous situations and would be available to deal with any threat our children might face," he continued. "I will be encouraging Delegates and Senators from both parties to support mainstream legislation to this effect that would improve the safety of our children with limited cost to the Commonwealth."

McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, also said in a statement Monday that mental health issues should be a priority while affirming his support for an assault weapons ban, more thorough background checks as well as renewing the Commonwealth's one-gun-a-month rule – legislation repealed this year limiting gun purchases to one per month.

McAuliffe's comments come after Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, suggested Tuesday it's time to start discussing arming school personnel, including teachers, as a line of defense against violence such as the Connecticut school shooting.

"I know there's been a knee jerk reaction against that," McDonnell said to the idea when asked in an interview on WTOP, a Washington radio station. "I think there should be a discussion of that – if people were armed, not just the police officer but other school officials were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would have been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming in to the schools."

Virginia law bans possession of a firearm by anyone other than law enforcement within 1,000 feet of a school – a measure McDonnell said he supported but suggested allowing the teachers at Sandy Hook to be armed could have saved lives.

McDonnell's suggestion follows another Republican governor, and former Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry who endorsed the idea of having teachers with the proper training and license to have "access to weapons in their school" and licensed Texans "should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state."

McAuliffe will likely face Republican candidate Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the 2013 general election to replace McDonnell, who is restricted by Virginia law from running for a second consecutive term as governor.

Filed under: 2012 • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. janelle

    We definately need more security in our schools. I believe every school building should have an armed security guard. It's not just guns that are the problem. These people that are intent on harming others, will always target the vulnerable. What is more vulnerable than a school building full of children? So yes, we need armed security in our schools.

    December 19, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If the school had bullet proof glass when all the doors were locked, it could have delayed this guy for a bit while police arrived. Keeping schools more secure is one thing. Think about other places like malls and movie theaters that can't do that.

    December 19, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Get that VA? The election choice is as follows:

    Armed police officers in yuor elementary schools v. mandatory ultra-sounds in your hoohoos.

    December 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Terry, I'm supporting you for governor, but now you've got me scratching my head. How about putting metal detectors in place? Let's give that a try before we spend taxpayer money placing officers in schools. A metal detector would have found the .38 caliber handgun that was found in Dozier Middle School today in Newport News.

    December 19, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. CBR

    We cannot afford to hire policemen to guard every school. Unless more officers are hired the officers cannot be used in this way. Bet no one is willing to pay for this idea.

    December 19, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. don in albuquerque

    Totally agree. Only should be a minimum of two and patrolling seperately, not walking around in tandem.

    December 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Well trained Resource Officers could be helpful on a regular basis with truancy, angry parents and upset kids, and help the school recommend an intervention.

    December 19, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Name lynn

    IF the people wants guns in schoool and also in public area and saying it will stop crime i just praying god help us all

    December 19, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. DumbasRocks [R]s

    We need more teachers carrying guns in school **VS** We need more security officers in schools.

    Idiotic ideas **VS** Cogent ideas

    Dumb **VS** Smart

    [R] **VS** [D]

    Its just as simple as that, America.

    December 19, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. 2012liberal

    Deminize and ridicule teachers like they r oo some gravy train. Dont fund schools w $ they need 4 debilitated schls. But lets fund armed teachers. Do they get bullet proof vests 2?

    December 19, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "We cannot afford to hire policemen to guard every school. Unless more officers are hired the officers cannot be used in this way. Bet no one is willing to pay for this idea."

    I bet you if you asked police stations around the country if they'd be wiling to set up a program whereby a a rotation is established and officers throughout the department each take their turn on "school duty" protecting one of the local schools for the day (i.e., having an easy day at work doing something for the community), you'd get an overwhelmingly positive response. Hiring one more police officer per school in the town, such that the rotation isn't actually decreasing the net number of officerson the streets, seems a bargain price to pay for our freedoms compared to paying in children's blood.

    December 19, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. 2012liberal

    U realize this falls n2 the spending dept. Do we get 2 off set spending somewhere else? How about congress' payroll!

    December 19, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Fortinbras

    Just give free doughnuts at the schools. That should get the police out of the doughnut shops and into the school, voluntarily and at a bare minimum cost.

    December 19, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. myviewis

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA
    How about putting metal detectors in place? Let's give that a try before we spend taxpayer money placing officers in schools. A metal detector would have found the .38 caliber handgun that was found in Dozier Middle School today in Newport News.

    So you would rather safe a dollar than safe a child's, teacher's life???????? And who in a school will disarm the person carrying the gun when the metal detector alarm goes off, a teacher, a student???????? You probably belief in more gun laws because it's cheaper.

    December 19, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Tony

    This is the right idea. Hire more people who are trained to handle security. No need to arm teachers. Of course, there is a cost involved. But even Republicans will not dare to oppose increased spending to protect our kids.

    December 19, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Gregory M. Newbold

    Isn`t the recurring "knee jerk reaction" from the GOP & NRA? That being to try and deflect and muddy any discussion about the correleation between more handguns, assault weapons, and large capacity [more than 10 rounds] magazines that have proliferated over the past 20 years?

    We had mentally ill people 20 years ago and we didn`t have these massacres. They are not the root cause. More guns are.

    December 19, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. The REAL Truth...

    Hmmm.. makes a good sound bit in election mode, but reality is that it will not happen as there is no budget to support it. Heck, we can't even properly fund education in most red states (might explain the ongoing dumbing-down of their electorate) never mind school security. Besides, anyone determined enough to kill a bunch of kids would have taken out the "on site cop" first. And who's the moron that suggest that the Newtown Elementary school principle should have had an M4 and killed the perp? What if she'd killed him and a child too? Or worse, missed him and taken out a child ??/

    December 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. kate

    We have 20 very precious little children dead because society hollers and yells about THEIR right to carry an automatic weapon that was meant for war. When are we going to wake up? We just don't get it. More children will be killed I am afraid because we want our precious automatic rifles.....This is so stupid and unAmerican to say the least. Conservatives need to wake up and smell the gunfire. Nothing conservative about losing lives. The NRA lobbyed mostly republicans to get their "rights." It is time that we honor these children and do something about these assault weapons that were meant for war purposes. They yell and holler about abortion rights.....and rightfully so, but when it comes to automatic assault weapons killing children they don't want to do anything about it. What is the difference?

    December 19, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. onlylivehere

    why not just bring all our troops home and give them something to do. They can all be stationed at schools. We're paying them anyway.

    December 19, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. Mitchell

    Put God in our schools not GUNS.

    December 19, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    So spend more tax dollars aka our money to protect our selves instead of addressing the real issue which is the overabundance of guns in our society. The word Coward comes to mind.

    December 19, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. Gregory M. Newbold

    Why are we giving any attention to this man McCauliffe? He`s a politician running in a state where he feels the need to pander to gun owners in the southern part of the state. Off course he is going to say that some arned deterrent is necessary because it allows him to seguway to support more gun ownrship. Let McCuallife say what he needs to say to win in VA but we don`t care to give it much credence on the national level.

    December 19, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. jpmichigan

    What is needed is bullet proof windows, double entrance ways with card activation ,alarm systems like in hospital and banks. Provide direct one button push to police and first responders in every room.. Outside doors in every class room for quick access out, Deep fire door closets in every room.

    December 19, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. fernace

    If little children can bring registered guns to elementary & middle schools, to show off to their friends (which also happens fairly frequently), then gunlaws are obviously not working very well! Many such incident results in accidental firing of the gun w/injury or death the result! We usually react to multiple shootings more so than the single shootings, such as unsupervised 3 yr old finds dad's unsecured gun in the glove compartment of truck! How will more security at schools & malls help that!? Sure, it's a step in the right direction, but gun control must be part of a cohesive discussion! Otherwise-snow tires on 1 side of the car!!

    December 19, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  25. Evergreen

    We need an all-of-the-above approach. Better mental healthcare, gun restrictions and school security.

    December 19, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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