Camden head of school security says armed police at every school would be 'significant help'

A week after a shooter entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunned down 20 children and six adults, the National Rifle Association announced that the best way to prevent a recurrence "of this unspeakable crime" is to have an armed police officer at every school throughout the country.

As my colleague, Carolyn Davis, reported in today’s Inquirer most school and political leaders in the Philadelphia region disagreed with the NRA’s suggestion.

But Camden’s school district executive director of safety and security Gaylen Conley, who used to work in the Philadelphia School District, said Friday that schools and malls are the “lowest protected” places and the most targeted for mass shootings.

While Camden City schools security guards are not armed, the school board has a working relationship with the city's police department in which armed officers visit schools daily and "pop in and out" as needed, Conley said. But he would like to have armed officers on a more permanent basis in each school.

"Having armed officers could be very significant help" in Camden schools, Conley said Friday.

"We need to do everything possible to protect our kids."

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd did not respond to requests for comment. 

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