Following President Trump's proposal of arming teachers with guns to prevent school attacks, the National Association of School Resource Officers advocated instead for trained school resource officers (SROs).
During a listening session held on Wednesday at the White House with students, parents and teachers affected by school shootings, President Trump said that an idea under consideration was arming "teachers and coaches" because they "could very well end the (potential) attack very quickly."
"This would only be obviously for people that are very adept at handling a gun," he added. "It's called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They'd go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone."
NASRO issued a statement that strongly recommended that no firearms be allowed on school campuses except in the hands of carefully selected and trained school resource officers "who are career law enforcement officers with sworn authority, deployed by employing police departments or agencies."
Executive Director Mo Canady explained that there are several reasons for preferring SROs to take the lead in school protection.
For example, requirements for law enforcement officers ensure that they practice regularly at shooting ranges in high-stress situations, have overcome human stress responses that can interfere with skills needed to accurately fire weapons, and are psychologically prepared to take a student's life in a school attack. Meanwhile, those without such training are not as likely to perform effectively in the event of a school shooting.
Canady said that SROs can best evaluate the risks of firing in crowded areas and hold their fire when the risk is too high of hitting a bystander. They are also trained to maintain possession of their weapons.
In addition, Canady said, law enforcement responding to school attacks could mistake armed teachers for assailants since they would be armed and not in uniform.
NASRO instead recommended funding for at least one SRO in each U.S. school, and more in larger schools. Canady added that SROs not only protect students but mentor and build positive relationships with them as well, which can result in discovery and prevention of planned violence before they are carried out.
Other options called for at the White House listening session included a focus on mental health, stringent background checks, banning certain kinds of guns, strengthening school entrances and exits, efforts against bullying, conducting drills in school, and cooperation among different viewpoints in order to find solutions for school safety.