Armed security guards at schools. That's a call from not only the National Rifle Association, but also from perhaps an unlikely lawmaker -- Shreveport Democrat Barbara Norton.
The state representative plans to introduce a bill for armed security guards at every Louisiana elementary school. That's in response to last month's school massacre in Connecticut.
Norton says it should not be a partisan issue. In Caddo Parish, most elementary schools do not have armed security, but middle and high schoolers do.
"Why do we think that we can allow our babies to be open in harm's way and nothing will happen?" Norton says. "Today we see we can no longer allow that to happen."
Norton wants to propose a law requiring all elementary schools have armed security guards. She wants them to be off-duty or retired law officers.
"Someone who understands when to pull that gun. Someone who understands what danger looks like when it's coming towards them or our children," Norton says.
She admits one big hurdle to her plan could be funding. Both Congress and the state of Louisiana are running shortfalls. It already costs the Caddo Parish School District 32-thousand dollars a year for each armed off-duty officer at all of the district's middle and high schools, and six of the elementary schools that are deemed in trouble spots. How much would it cost to add armed officers to the rest of the approximately three dozen schools?
"It would run in the neighborhood of two million dollars," according to Ron Murry, Head of Security for the CPSD.
Norton hopes federal funds could help pay the cost in additional to state revenue.
"We may be able to look at passing a tax. I don't know. I haven't gotten that far. But one thing I do know is -- it is so important that we make sure and save our children," says Norton.
Oak Park Microsociety in west Shreveport is like most other elementaries in the parish. An unarmed security coordinator patrols there. So what does Principal Sabrina Anderson think of having an armed officer?
"I would welcome that at my school," Anderson said enthusiastically.
Norton says she's received support from Democratic colleagues in the legislature. She believes Republicans will, too. If they can all find a way to pay for it.