Council Member: Add armed officers to schools

HOUSTON - Braced for a fight, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

A month after that horrific massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don't require the backing of lawmakers. The president's executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

The plan also calls on the federal government to pony up more money for states to hire more police officers for schools.

Houston City Council Member C.O. Bradford said he thinks armed, well-trained police officers should be placed in every school across the city.

"Let's not ask teachers to do security," Bradford said. "They are too busy already."

The Houston Independent School District has armed officers assigned to patrol middle and high schools. Extra patrols were recently added to patrol elementary schools.

The head of the teacher's union said she likes the idea of police officers being in schools, but she said HISD can't afford the cost of additional manpower.

"If we get money to expand the force, that would be great," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. "If the city wants to provide services, that would be even nicer."

The National Rifle Association is also pushing for armed guards at every school.

"All the things that are happening right now, it would make me feel better," parent Ana Yelli said.

"It would probably protect more of the students and teachers and the staff in the schools," parent Marian Pentera said.

School districts across the Houston area are reviewing their security measures. At Schiff Elementary in the Fort Bend County Independent School District, all classroom doors are now locked.

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