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California voters don't want armed teachers on campus, survey says

February 1, 2013 | 12:05 pm

APphoto_Inauguration Obama Essay(3)
Most California voters don’t want teachers to carry guns, think more mental health services are needed, and think spending money on counselors would do more to prevent violence than using that funding for police officers, according to a new survey.

When asked whether hiring a school counselor or a police officer would be more effective at preventing violence, 67% chose the counselor, according to the survey of 1,200 voters released by the California Endowment, a private health foundation. The survey was done in the wake of last month's killing of 20 children and six adults by a gunman at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

 “California voters understand that counseling and mental health services can help prevent senseless tragedies on campus—and frankly, that focus on prevention has been the missing ingredient from school safety efforts in recent years,” said Barbara Raymond,  director of schools policy for The California Endowment.

A group of Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this week that would allow school districts to use education funding to train teachers and administrators to use guns so they can protect students from armed invaders.

The California Endowment survey found that 31% of voters support allowing teachers trained in firearms to carry guns on school grounds.

Some 96% support training school employees in emergency response techniques, and 91% favor providing mental “first aid” training to school staff, so they can recognize the signs of mental illness in young people.

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--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Mourners arriving last month in a school bus at Newtown High School for a memorial vigil attended by President Obama for the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting. Credit: David Goldman / Associated Press

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