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AISD Police Chief Says President Obama's Plan Worth Considering
Overall, few Americans seem to disagree on enhancing school safety. It's the specifics that cause heated differences. On Wednesday, some of President Obama's proposals to curb gun violence shocked Central Texans.
"Everybody was like get rid of the guns, get rid of the guns," said Venita DeLeon, a mother of two teenagers. "For President Obama to come out and say we're going to give grant money so you can go buy guns, Im just extremely surprised."
DeLeon is talking about the President's call to give millions of dollars in grant money to hire more officers in schools. It prompted talks of hypocrisy after the National Rifle Association said its proposal to hire armed guards at every school was met with ridicule. The President, however, suggested specially trained officers, while the NRA wants to arm volunteers and teachers as well.
"If there was grant money available to get more officers and it didn't have budget impact on the district, it's definitely worth looking at," AISD Chief of Police, Eric Mendez said.
The choice to take that money will be left to every district. Chief Mendez likes the idea.
AISD already assigns 68 armed police officers throughout its campuses, but Mendez said they could use more to increase safety of the students.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst wants the state to chip in money to train officers and teachers to carry guns.
"Under state law, the school district has the authority to authorize individuals to carry a weapon in school and that's up to the school district," Dewhurst said on Wednesday.
School districts may also have the chance to dip into a $30 million one-time federal grant to Texas that would help develop emergency management plans. AISD said it would consider it, but first Congress must pass the measures.
The nation's two main teachers unions, representing about 4.5 million educators and school officials, support President Obama's initiatives regarding school safety.
By Katherine Stolp