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Parents share opinions on school security

December 17, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Ken Petersen
By Caleb Calhoun/Mobile Journalist

HAGERSTOWN — Hagerstown resident Darren Covington, 41, offered a simple and specific suggestion on how to help prevent mass shootings in schools such as what happened inside the Connecticut elementary school Friday while also giving his take on whether principals in schools should have guns.

“I don’t mind police officers trained to use guns, but for the principal to have one, that’s a bit extreme,” said Covington, who was picking up his 10-year-old fifth-grade daughter, Lucy, on Monday from Fountaindale Elementary School. “The one thing that could’ve greatly helped would’ve been having a security guard outside. It could’ve been prevented or at least given people more warning.”

Goldie Cross of Hagerstown, however, was picking up her 6-year old kindergartner from Fountaindale when she said she does not think “there truly is any way to prevent something like that from happening outside of medal detectors in every school and police officers padding everybody down.”

Richard Straub, 61, of Hagerstown, was picking up his 7-year-old grandson from Fountaindale when he said he would be fine with increasing the security at schools and possibly giving school principals guns.

“If someone gets into school with a gun, you’ve got to have some kind of protection,” he said. “They at least should have something like the airports have.”

Jessika Wilt, 33, of Hagerstown, was picking up her daughter from Fountaindale when she said she had mixed emotions on arming school principals.

“If people know the principal has a gun, they’re probably less likely to come in with a gun, but what if the principal went crazy or it wasn’t locked up and the kids got it?” she said.

The incident Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School claimed the lives of 20 children, six adults and the shooter.

Parents of elementary schoolchildren in the area had a wide range of suggestions to improve security in schools Monday while others said they are fine with the way it is. Most of them, however, said they would not support principals of schools having guns.

Hagerstown resident Daniel Fitzgibbon, 28, who was picking up his 6-year-old kindergartner, Gavin, said he would not support the principals having a firearm in the schools but did support having somebody in the schools with a firearm.

“Someone like a police officer or military person that’s been trained how to handle a situation like that would be good in the schools,” he said. “I know a lot of military guys that would be willing to do that.”

Latisha Miller, 29, of Hagerstown, echoed those sentiments as she was picking up her child from Fountaindale.

“I don’t think grabbing a gun would be the principal’s first instinct,” she said. “I think a cop in the area would help.”

Ken Petersen, 47, of Hagerstown, however, was picking up his 11-year old fifth-grade son, John Carter, from Eastern Elementary School when he said security can do little to stop what happened Friday.

“Any nut could do it, no matter how tight the security,” he said. “Even with one guy having one gun, there’s no way to stop somebody with an assault rifle.”

JaNell Mason, 41, of Hagerstown, suggested metal detectors at the school as she was picking up her son from Fountaindale, but appeared skeptical about the principals having guns.

“They can see you when you buzz in but nothing would go off if I had an arsenal on me,” she said. “If an assailant shot the principal, then what?”

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