Some local educators said the National Rifle Association's proposal to mandate every school have an armed guard on campus is not a solution to school violence.
"That does not guarantee that these kinds of violent acts that we saw will not occur. There is no guarantee," said Norma De La Rosa, the President of the El Paso Teachers Association, which is a local affiliate of the National Education Association. The Association said school safety requires a commitment to preventative measures, such as mental health programs in schools. Proper diagnosis of troubled or potentially violent individuals often starts in schools, said De La Rosa.
Having armed security on-site failed to prevent the deadliest mass murder at an american high school - columbine - where 15 people were killed.
The NRA, a week after the deadly shooting of 26 people, including 20 young children in Newtown, Connecticut, made the statement Friday. "Will you at least admit it's possible that 26 little kids, that 26 innocent lives, might have been spared that day," asked NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre at the news conference.
Local parents and students had mixed emotions about the proposal. At Parkland High School Friday, armed guards and El Paso Police officers patrolled the front of the school as students were let out early for winter break. The Ysleta Independent School District let students out early after parents expressed concerns over safety following the carnage in Newtown.
One parent said he was on principle, he's against guns in schools but on a practical level, he supports the NRA's plan. "Two wrongs don't make a right. Fighting a gun with a gun doesn't necessarily make it right but to be able to protect yourself and have that peace of mind, I think that's what people should be looking for," said Francisco Amador, a Northeast El Paso resident.
Most Parkland High students ABC-7 interviewed said they were not against the idea of a mandated armed guard but were uneasy with the idea of teachers taking a concealed weapon to school. "Just in case for protection. In case something happens (there should be an armed guard). It would make me feel safer. If they're (guards) instructed to and if it's someone who's certified to (carry a gun), then yes but if it's a teacher, no. That's why there's security guards," said Francisco Chavez, a student.