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Cops in schools: Will that be Newtown's legacy?

Of all the post-Newtown, Conn., news developments last week, one that stood out to us was a Gallup poll released on Wednesday. It asked Americans to rate how effective various options would be at reducing mass shootings in schools. The top three answers were, in this order: More police officers at schools, more spending on mental-health screening and treatment, and reducing depictions of violence in the media. Fourth was banning "assault weapons."

Putting police officers in schools means putting guns in schools, but guns held by authority figures we trust to handle them with care. That this was the top answer to Gallup's question was striking for several reasons: 1. It indicates that Americans generally view the problem as one of access to defenseless victims, not access to guns; 2. that Americans are willing to change the public school experience forever by making armed guards a permanent presence; and 3. that Americans are willing to spend the money that such a police presence would require.

We are not convinced that this is the best way to go. But providing some sort of armed protection at every public school - whether a security guard, a police officer or a trained administrator (having teachers armed in the classroom is too great an accident risk) is a response worth discussing.

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