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Teachers unions such as the American Federation of Teachers oppose such proposals. “Our public schools should not be armed fortresses. Efforts to arm educators and increase guns in our schools put educators and students at risk and undermine our ability to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for students,” reads a statement with the group’s school safety recommendations. “If a school decides to bring police into schools, they should be part of the fabric of the school community, not simply a stationed armed guard.”
One issue of concern has been young people’s access to guns. A University of California, Irvine, study in Orange County, Calif., based on a 2003 survey of 176 students, found that nearly 27 percent had fired a gun and 43 percent said they had access to a gun. None of the students said they had brought a gun to school, but two had thought of using a gun at school.
In a national survey in 2011, just over 5 percent of high school students reported carrying a weapon to school in the past 30 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And just over 7 percent reported being threatened or injured with a weapon at school in the past 12 months.
Taft law-enforcement officials told reporters Thursday it was too early to comment on rumors that bullying may have been at play in this incident, or that the shooter had been previously suspended for having a list of students he wanted to harm.
Taft Union High School will be closed Friday, but counselors will be available to students, parents, or staff who want to come in to meet with them. Counselors will also be on hand Monday when school resumes, superintendent McDermott said.