Newtown School Superintendent Dr. Janet Robinson gave some gut-wrenching answers about school safety and guns at a House Democrats Steering & Policy Committee meeting Wednesday. She gave graphic testimony about the shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and 6 staff members inside Sandy Hook Elementary last month.
When asked about whether she approved of the NRA's offer to train teachers to carry firearms in class, she said:
I come from a military family. My dad was career military. My husband was a Navy pilot. We don’t keep guns. You know, I have great respect for guns. It takes a great deal of training for a police officer to shoot a weapon in action. Teachers are teachers. And if you think about elementary teachers, elementary teachers just love kids. They’re not gonna go packin’ and sit on the floor on the rug and read to the kids with a gun at their hip.There was some very insensitive individual, who will go unnamed, that immediately after this (and I didn’t watch TV after this) made some claim that if [Principal] Dawn Hochsprung had just had a weapon in her desk she could have taken care of it. Number 1, she wasn’t at her desk and no good principal is. So that means she’d have to be carrying it as she walked around. And what if she’s like this very athletic individual who shot himself in the foot? How many little kids could get injured with inexperienced elementary school teachers walking around with guns? It’s not even logical.
Dr. Robinson then addressed the question about banning semi-automatic weapons:
[Adam Lanza] shot every one of these little 6 year olds 3 to 11 times. That wasn’t necessary. Had he had a single shot, maybe Dawn could have stopped him. They didn’t have a chance with a semi-automatic weapon. And little 6-year-old bodies haven’t a chance. So that’s the depth of my feeling.
Dr. Robinson knows the horrible details of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. She knows the staff. She knows the teachers. She told House Democrats Wednesday that her teachers are asking for new safety measures like locks for the doors and escape ladders for the windows. She says they're asking for armed police officers at least for the time being.
But Dr. Robinson says the teachers really just need help feeling safe. She's intimately acquainted with the horrible loss--unlike many of the people who've been pontificating about this issue--and yet she doesn't think teachers should carry guns.
Dr. Robinson told House Democrats she needs their help making teachers and parents and students feel safe again.
What do I say to parents who want to be assured that when they put their children on the bus to school that they will come home? How do I protect our students without creating fortresses? How do we let our children freely enjoy being children? I have heard that the measure of a society is how they treat their children, so help me give these children their futures.
Note to the NRA: Newtown doesn't want armed teachers or permanent armed guards.