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Teachers' group blasts recommendation that staff be trained and armed

Tuesday - 4/2/2013, 3:30pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The American Federation of Teachers is denouncing a suggestion that schools train selected staff to carry weapons, and that each school should have at least one armed security officer. The head of the teachers' group calls the idea a "cruel hoax" that won't protect children and schools.

The recommendation comes out of a study sponsored by the National Rifle Association. The results were outlined today by former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who led the study.

He says every school would be better off with an armed security officer, but acknowledges that it's a decision that will be made locally. Hutchinson says the security could be provided by trained staff members or by school resource officers -- police officers who are assigned to schools. Some districts already have them.

He says the NRA has dropped an earlier recommendation that retired police officers and other volunteers be armed to provide school safety. The suggestion came just days after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

The head of the AFT, which represents 1.5 million teachers and other workers, says the proposal is simply aimed at helping gun manufacturers.

%@AP Links

192-w-36-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Asa Hutchinson, head of the National School Shield Program)--A group backed by the National Rifle Association has unveiled its plan to protect the nation's schools. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (2 Apr 2013)

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195-a-13-(Asa Hutchinson, head of the National School Shield program, at news conference)-"the overall security"-The head of the National School Shield Program, Asa Hutchinson, says having someone who is carrying a weapon in a school just adds to the security effort. (2 Apr 2013)

<> 00:13 "the overall security"

197-a-06-(Asa Hutchinson, head of the National School Shield program, at news conference)-"the response time"-The head of the National School Shield Program, Asa Hutchinson, recommends that no school be without someone with a gun. (2 Apr 2013)

<> 00:06 "the response time"

APPHOTO DCJL103: National School Shield Task Force Director, former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson speaks during a news conference at National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, to discuss his group's study. The National Rifle Association's study recommends schools across the nation each train and arm at least one staff member. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (2 Apr 2013)

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