Some gun owners interviewed at the Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range on Dec. 21 recommended arming school officials as way to prevent incidents like the Dec. 14 shooting that resulted in the deaths of 20 elementary school students in Newtown CT.

Carole and Larry Beins, Nebraska residents in town to visit family, compared it to sky marshals on airplanes. “Arm the teachers,” Larry Beins said “They’re supposed to be responsible adults protecting our children.”

In the days after the tragedy, local school systems announced they would beef up security and released statements meant to reassure parents.

Some educational leaders are calling for stricter controls on who can own weapons.

Messages posted on the websites of Fulton County, DeKalb County and Atlanta Public Schools say the systems are taking extra precautions and that parents shouldn’t fear sending their children to school.

“In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, the DeKalb County School District has asked all school administrators and staff to review their safe school and emergency plans,” DeKalb Schools told parents in a message posted on its Facebook page.

Fulton County Schools says it continuously finds ways to improve its safety procedures.

“The school system has increased its police presence at all schools and local police departments are also sending patrols to schools,” the District told parents via its website. “Every day, school resource officers are at every middle school, and two are located at every North Fulton high school and three are at every South Fulton high school. All officers have elementary schools as part of their assignments. In addition, the school system has close working relationships with local law enforcement agencies so that in the event of an emergency, a response can be coordinated and quickly enacted.”

Sandy Springs resident Kandice Castellino has organized a fundraiser to help the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Castellino, who grew up in Newtown, said she went back to her hometown shortly after the shooting to see what she could do to help.

She created a page at the website, www.crowdrise.com/shsrelief, to collect money to cover the funeral costs for the families of the victims. T-shirts are also being sold at www.newtownpride.com.

“We’ve seen support from all over the world which has been really important,” Castellino said. “The most important thing now is to help the town and get back to a sense of normalcy. I think the town will heal, but it will never really go back to normal.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com