In making the case for armed policeman assigned to schools around the country Friday, National Rifle Association Chief Wayne LaPierre called out several different sectors of American society as contributing to a climate that led to a string of violent shootings in recent years.
He also pointed the finger directly at President Obama for eliminating school-policing grants from his 2013 budget.
Mr. LaPierre took exception to Democratic lawmakers’ – and even some Republicans’ – coalescing around gun-control in reaction to the mass shootings of 20 school children and six adults a week ago in Newtown, Conn.
The principal of Sandy Hook Elementary was shot and killed in that killing, and Mr. LaPierre said America should not be so consumed by “fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners” that people are willing to accept a world where lone, unarmed school principals have to surrender their lives in order to shield children from bullets.
“There is not a national, one-size-fits-all solution to protecting our children,” he said. “But do know this – President [Obama] zeroed out school emergency planning grants in last year’s budget and scrapped “Secure Our Schools” policing grants in next year’s budget.”
With all the foreign aid in the federal budget, Mr. LaPierre asked, why can’t there be room to budget for a policy officer stationed at every school?
The White House did not return a request for comment about whether its budget included other funds for school-protection programs.
In the past, the Secure Our Schools program, which falls under the Community-Oriented Policing Services, or COPS program, provided $14 million for law enforcement agencies and school districts to work together to improve school security and safety. The money was used to purchase school metal detectors, locks, lighting an other deterrent measures. It was also used for security assessments, security training of personnel and students and coordinating with local law enforcement.
The Washington Guardian last week wrote a lengthy article http://www.washingtonguardian.com/washingtons-school-security-failure about the roles of Mr. Obama – as well as Congress – in quietly letting federal funding lapse for several key school security programs in the name of budget savings.