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October 24th, 2013
05:30 AM ET

Debate Over School Safety Revs Up After Teacher Deaths

Teacher slayings in Nevada and Massachusetts this week are the latest examples of how educators feel schools are less of a traditional safe haven, especially from gun violence that killed one of the instructors, an education firm says.

A survey of 10,600 educators in 50 states captured this uneasiness after another school shooting - in Newtown, Connecticut - when the vast majority of respondents favored an armed guard to improve safety, though they didn't want to be armed in school themselves. Almost a third of teachers felt that their school wasn't safe from gun violence.

"That's a high number to me. That's a lot of teachers feeling nervous about this," said Cory Linton of the School Improvement Network, which provides professional development to educators and which conducted the January survey.

"Even though nine out of 10 educators feel safe in school, the survey shows that teachers don't feel completely safe from random acts of violence," said Linton, executive vice president of the Utah firm. "You think about how many students are in Massachusetts and how many students are in Nevada. They're not going to learn much this week. That's a pretty high cost to society."

As a sign of the times, 43-year-old Linton cited how the only drill he did in school was for earthquakes. Now, his five kids must learn a "lockdown drill" in school in the event of a violent intruder or bomb threat.

In one remedy to this specter of violence, some teachers carry a "panic button" that turns on a video camera in the classroom that transmits live footage and audio to police, Linton said.

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