The school massacre in Newtown, Conn., has left the country searching for answers on how to make schools safer.
A proposal by the National Rifle Association to put armed security guards in every school is not the solution. Neither are calls to arm classroom teachers.
Adding firearms to any volatile situation is a recipe for a potential tragedy. Our schools should not look like armed camps or prisons.
After a week of near-silence following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six adults dead, the response last week from the NRA was predictable, but disappointing.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.
He suggested that the NRA - free of charge - would help train a pool of qualified private citizens to work as school guards. Thanks, but no thanks.
While offering no new gun restrictions, LaPierre instead criticized the media, and violent video games and films.
Not surprisingly, his proposal has drawn plenty of opposition, and rightfully so. U.S. Sen Frank Lautenberg, (D., N.J.) called LaPierre's comments "reckless."
The shootings have sparked a national debate on gun control amid growing support for a push to reinstate a needed ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips.
If fewer people owned guns, there might be fewer cases of children being killed at school because someone had access to a gun that he shouldn't have.
Authorities have said that Adam Lanza, the gunman in Newtown, took weapons from his mother, Nancy, who legally owned the guns. She, apparently, was her son's first victim.
The rampage that followed at Sandy Hook provides a tragic reminder that school violence can happen anywhere - in urban school systems or quiet suburban communities.
Philadelphia schools have long been plagued with violence, making teaching and learning difficult. A 2011 investigative series by The Inquirer painted a disturbing picture of life inside the city's public schools, with more than 4,000 attacks on students, teachers, and staff. But few of the incidents involved weapons or other situations in which an armed officer was needed. Most occurred outside the school building before or after classes.
As the debate on gun control continues in the aftermath of Newtown, it's best to remember that keeping guns out of the wrong hands is the best way to protect schoolchildren and their teachers.