Police training exercises have already been scheduled throughout the Glen Cove School District over Christmas break. That was one immediate response to the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Yet if the National Rifle Association has its way, armed guards on school grounds will be a way of life. That was one of the key points the organization made Friday, one week after a lone gunman shook the nation.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre defended the rights of gun owners at a press conference and called for greater security as a deterrence.
"I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January," LaPierre said.
Glen Cove Schools Superintendent Joseph Laria didn't return calls seeking comment, but in a letter to parents earlier this week, promised to evaluate the district's security measures.
"The district will continue to evaluate its current safety protocols and procedures," Laria said. "The district is in full compliance with the Federal SAVE Legislation (Schools Against Violence in Education). Nevertheless, we assure staff, parents and residents that we will remain constantly vigilant in our efforts to identify ways we can strengthen and improve the district’s current school safety and emergency plans."
Will a change in security measures mean armed guards? The reaction was loud and definitive elsewhere on Long Island.
"It is ludicrous," Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James Carver said. "Kids – especially grammar school kids – shouldn't have to walk into a school with police set up there [with] the fear that there's something bound to happen. The bottom line here is that the guns are getting into the hands of the people that they shouldn't be getting into."
The conversation was also pointed on Glen Cove Patch's Facebook page.
Critics were quick to point out that Colorado's Columbine High School had an armed guard. That didn't stop an infamous mass shooting in 1999.
Rep. Steve Israel, D-Huntington, who earlier called for guns to be kept out of schools, slammed the NRA. “The statement given this morning by NRA President Wayne LaPierre was tragically out of touch," Israel said. "We do not need an arms race in our schools. We need common-sense initiatives like limits on high-capacity assault magazines and closing the gun show loophole. It's time for common ground, not more guns on school playgrounds.”
Matthew Hogan and Joe Dowd contributed to this report.