Armed and Educated: Part 1 - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Armed and Educated: Part 1

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A horrific massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut has parents hundreds of miles away concerned about their own safety and the safety of their little ones.

School leaders and parents are now working on, what they believe are the best ways to protect the future generations at what some say should be the safest place in the world, that is school.

But, now local law enforcement and principals have to prepare for the worst.

Liz Strickland, a parent, is giving the idea of armed guards on campus, a thumbs up.

" I couldn't help but think, what if?," Strickland said.

A new trend in our school system is active shooter drills. Strickland's Ouachita Parish school system's 5-year-old told his mother all about one that got students involved.

"When my 5-year-old from the back seat pipes up and says 'do you know that 7 children will fit under a desk?,'" she said.

Strickland however doesn't agree with this type of preparation, especially because of her son's age.

Another parent of the Ouachita school district gives a thumbs down to armed guards.

Instead, John Grissom says high-tech cameras should catch a potential killer, as long as at one point their weapon and it's not concealed before going on school property.

"Basically, a camera recognizes your face and body in motion, so we can take this technology and implement it into a system to recognize firearms," Grissom said. 

Grissom is also a technology guru. He says this should carry a one-time $20,000 price tag instead of costing taxpayers more money for hiring an armed officer.

"I have two kids in school currently and two grand kids coming up and I'm very concerned for their safety," Grissom said.

During the Columbine Massacre in 1999, there was an armed guard on campus. The Virginia Tech University massacre happened back in 2007 and the school has its own police department. Still today, parents continue to be at odds over whether officers on campus will help.

Onto Union Parish, where most of the schools are rural like many in the ArkLaMiss and they're older buildings, Superintendent George Cannon is closely looking for ways to prevent any gunman targeting his students.

"I think you can have all the national and state legislation you want," Cannon said. "The reality is, you're going to solve the problem at the local building level and we're going to try to do in the parish what we think is the best interest to keep kids safe as possible."

Some believe parents, the feds, and school leaders aren't armed with the right knowledge. They believe the real educated conversation should surround those with medical conditions who may be to blame for causing massacres.

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