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What President Obama's Gun Control Plan Means for Schools

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Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Barack Obama's plan to prevent gun violence could mean changes for schools and school districts.

That plan calls for legislation to ban assault rifles and require a background check for all gun purchases.

The president's proposal also includes a request for hundreds of millions of dollars for schools to hire police officers and counselors; buy school safety equipment; develop emergency plans; and improve school climates, i.e., make students less likely to want to shoot others.

All that legislation may or may not actually make it through Congress:

Indications out of Congress are that the assault weapons ban faces the longest odds; a ban on high capacity magazines seems to have a slightly better chance at passage, particularly if combined with the improved mental health screenings being pushed by many Republicans. The best odds appear to be for passage of a requirement for universal background check.

[related_content align="right"]But other parts of Obama's plan don't require Congressional approval. They include:

  • Giving police departments that plan to place police officers in schools preference when they apply for federal Department of Justice grants;
  • Releasing model emergency management plans for schools, colleges and universities and having the federal Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice help schools, colleges and universities do their own security assessments; and
  • Having the federal Department of Education collect and share best practices on school discipline polices and help schools put those policies in place.

A handful of Ohio school districts are arming their staffs and a gun rights-advocacy group says hundreds of teachers have applied for training on how to use a gun to prevent school shootings.

But President Obama's plan doesn't call for arming teachers. And the press release about the school safety training that the state of Ohio is offering to school states:

The courses do not include firearm training.

That's ok by the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union:

“The idea of arming teachers as some had suggested was rightly and soundly rejected by the president’s task force,” said [NEA President Dennis] Van Roekel.  “We especially welcome the president’s comprehensive approach by allowing school districts the option to design and implement appropriate measures to make schools safer and protect their students.”

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