POLL | Gun control: What happens next?

5:50 AM, Aug 23, 2013   |    comments
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MARIETTA, Ga. -- The City of Marietta quickly added extra police officers to patrol their city charter schools after this week's scare in DeKalb County.  

An armed gunman walked into the front office of an elementary school before surrendering to police after a single shot.  No one was injured, but fears still surfaced.  

"It doesn't matter where it was in the nation, or whether or not someone got hurt," said Marietta Police Officer David Baldwin.  "Everybody feels it in their own neighborhood, and everybody feels it with their own kids."

What should schools do next?  

In Marietta, A.L. Burruss Elementary principal Julie King said parents and school staffers appreciate seeing the extra police presence.  

"I think part of it is the visibility, but I think part of it is the trust too," King said.  "When you see that uniform you know they're trained, they know what they're doing and you know that someone around here is ready."

Marietta has already been putting a security plan in place over the last year.  It includes surveying every school's layout and training teachers on how to respond to a threat. They also have hidden panic buttons in each of their 11 schools that immediately alert police when pressed.  

In larger districts, it may be too expensive to place an officer in each school.  When Atlanta public schools undertook that initiative this year, the program cost them $10.1 million.

Cartersville state representative Paul Battles tried to promote another option in this year's legislative session.  His bill to allow schools to train and arm teachers and administrators stalled.  

He plans to bring it up again next year.

"In a case where someone is randomly shooting, seconds count," Battles said.  "This incident this past week shows it's one of those things that is not going to go away."  


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