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Louisiana governor pushing for trained officers in schools

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that he wants a trained officer in every Louisiana school in the wake of a massacre at a high school in Florida where 17 people were killed.

“We need to know that every school district, every school, has one,” the Democratic governor said of school resource officers. He made his comments at the opening meeting of a statewide group of educators and law enforcement officials tasked with studying school safety.

The Louisiana Blue Ribbon Commission on School Safety met as bills aimed at letting teachers or certain civilians bring guns onto school grounds have failed in the state legislature. A measure allowing students to wear bulletproof backpacks has gained the most traction this year, easily passing the Senate earlier this month.

Edwards reiterated his opposition to arming teachers and instead says it’s important to strike a balance between safety and the needs of students, noting that campuses with fences and metal detectors could start looking more like prisons than schools.

“In order to have schools that are as safe as we want them to be for our kids, we’re tempted to create things that look like correctional institutions rather than nurturing environments conducive to education,” he said.

The February attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has prompted protests across the country and a nationwide debate on how best to protect school children from mass shootings.

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