In today's press conference in Washington DC, the National Rifle Association broke its weeklong silence following the horrific shooting of 26 people at a school in Newtown, CT, and called for a surge of gun-carrying "good guys" around American schools.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, arguing that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Brentwood School Superintendent David Faulkner declined to comment on the NRA announcement.
"It is not my place to comment on this position statement at this time," Faulkner said in an email to Patch. "I really do appreciate that you understand why we are keeping our security discussions internal."
School security was discussed at the city Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday night. Brentwood Chief of Police Steve Disbennett told the committee where Brentwood schools stand following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in CT.
He sent two detectives to every school in Brentwood, including the private schools and the cay care center at Mount Calvary to talk with them about safety. He said the detectives walked through the schools with the administrators and teachers and gave them ideas how to improve student safety.
“We can’t cover every scenario, but it's getting them thinking on our lines,” he said.
He told the administrators to practice emergency procedures.
“When it happens it’s chaos,” he said. “If you haven’t practiced, when it happens you don’t have time to do anything except hopefully do what you’re trained to do.”
Disbennett said there have been talks about the school again funding a fulltime school resource officer (SRO).
He said it’s not in the police department’s budget.
“We can’t, where we’re at, devote somebody full time,” he said. “Even full time, that doesn’t cover every school, so they need to know. I’m completely open to that possibility and working together with the school, if they would want to fund that.”
Ward 4 Alderman Tom Kramer quoted a price of $50,000 per year for a St. Louis County SRO. City Administrator Bola Akande said the cost for a Brentwood officer would be “whatever the cost for an officer fully equipped would cost, benefits included.”
Disbennett said he’s not in favor of arming principals or teachers. He gave an example of what could happen.
“The principal is in the cafeteria. The gun is locked up in her office and the intruder comes in," he said. "How are they going to get back? When are they going to get back? How long is it going to take? Do you want the principal walking around the school with a gun on her side? I don’t think so."
Disbennett said school security has improved.
“A number of years ago Det. Nick Stanze, dressed up (as a serviceman) with a tool box,” he said. “We sent him to all the schools to see when he would be stopped walking through the hallways, to say, ‘who are you?’ and it never happened.”
Stanze said he was stopped once, by a janitor, who told him where the school's computer server is, when Stanze asked.
Disbennett said that was before school doors were locked. “We were able to walk into every school and not be even stopped.”