Hutchinson and his team had been studying and surveying schools since December, when the NRA's Wayne LaPierre introduced Hutchinson as leading the lobby's school safety efforts in a press conference much wilder than Tuesday's seemingly calm affair. Speaking of so-called School Resource Officers — a new name for LaPierre's notorious "good guy with a gun" — Hutchinson said Tuesday that "an SRO in every school building is important. Right now you have an SRO in every third building. I would say that is insufficient. Generally there should be at least one in every school campus to reduce the response time." He said that in the report, "there is no specific recommendations on how many SROs or armed personnel" there should be at each school.
But Hutchinson's key points about school safety wrapped themselves around one expensive, perhaps very controversial tenet: a model-training program of those School Resource Officers, or armed guards who aren't school administrators. Hutchinson called this "an enhancement of what they currently undertake. It's 40 to 60 hours of comprehensive training," adding that the program would be open to "program for selected and designated armed school personnel" and administrators that want the training. He said "teachers should teach," while very leaving open the possibility that classroom teachers could get the very expensive training.
Indeed, putting more SROs in schools and training them wont' come cheap. Back in February, Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, said that while the salaries vary, officers usually cost a school $50,000 to $80,000 a year — he did not specify whether the cost of guns was included. Canady told USA Today at the time that the "NRA has not determined how every school could afford resource officers." From his vague responses to specific questions from reporters, Hutchinson made clear that the report did not include specific proposals for costs — indeed, he pinned that part on the federal government. The sixth recommendation Hutchinson outlined was a fuzzy initiative: "improved federal coordination and more directed funding, innovation, training and better coordination." He added, in a response to a question about funding, that the Obama administration could give "additional grants to the schools from Homeland Security."
That's blurry. So is any math on the proposals, but here is some: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 98,817 public schools (total number of public, secondary, and combined schools) and 33,366 private schools. That's 132,183 schools nationwide, as of data available for the 2009-2010 school year. Even though some schools already employ armed guards, you can multiply that school total by the bare minimum it would cost to put one SRO in each school ($50,000), and there you have it: The NRA's dream of putting an armed guard in every school around the country could cost, at a minimum, around $6,609,150,000 per year — and that may not even be counting the purchase of guns for them, which is why the NRA exists in the first place. The National School Shield's "model training program" recommendation would cost $800-$1,000 for every officer ,according to one of Hutchinson's team members chiming in at the press conference — and that would mean another $132,183,000, at $1,000 per officer.