NRA's Plan For Guns In Schools Meets Strong Opposition

The NRA's proposal on Friday advocating armed guards in schools in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary was met with strong sentiments from all sides of the gun control debate. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin turns to Bill Bond for his reaction. Bond was principal of Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., where three students lost their lives in 1997. Bond is now a school safety specialist with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Bill Bond is the former principal at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky. We spoke with Mr. Bond last week in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown shooting. We reached out to him again in the wake of the NRA's proposal to put an armed security guard in every school in the country. It's an especially important issue to Bond. He's now a school safety specialist at the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Mr. Bond, thank you for talking with us again.

BILL BOND: Thank you, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, would it have made a difference in the shooting that happened at Heath High School in Paducah to have had an armed security guard there?

BOND: In the shooting at my high school where three girls were killed and five other students were shot, I don't know that an armed security guard would have prevented what had happened there. Because from the time I heard the shot till I was able to take the weapon from the student was a span of 12 seconds. And in that 12 seconds, he had already hit eight students. So, a security guard could have done the same thing had he been in the same location I was but it still would have been casualties.

MARTIN: Considering your unique perspective as someone who lived through a school shooting, would you rather have an armed guard of some kind in your school or not?

BOND: Given the choice of having a school resource officer or not having one, I would choose to have a school resource officer. They're sworn police officers. They normally work for local police departments. The fact that they have a gun on their hip, that's a very small part of what school resource officers can do for a school. And just the very presence of a law enforcement officer is a good thing in a school. The one thing that's been talked about - arming teachers or principals or community volunteers - I would absolutely against all of those options.

MARTIN: Do you have concerns that there would be risks with having a security guard with a weapon in a school?

BOND: Yes. During a school shooting, kids are running. Some are laying on the floor and some are just standing dazed, and just finding the shooter is a difficult situation.

MARTIN: Do you think Newtown has mobilized a new sentiment among teachers and school administrators on this issue?

BOND: I think it's focused the nation's attention on the issue. I think that our emotions are involved and I think everyone wants things to change. This was just an unbelievable game-changing moment in education. And I don't mean that in a positive way. This was horrendous. It's beyond what we could imagine. So, I think everyone's open to all options.

MARTIN: Bill Bond. He's a school safety specialist with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Mr. Bond, thanks so much.

BOND: Thank you, Rachel.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: You're listening to NPR News.

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