LAPIERRE: The NRA is gonna bring all its knowledge, all its dedication and all its resources to develop a model national schools shield emergency response program for every single school in America that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control, to information technology, to student and teacher training, this multifaceted program will be developed by the very best experts in the field. Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead the effort as national director of the National Model School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as United States attorney, director of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts that are available in the United States of America to get this program up and running from the first day forward.
If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible. And that security is only available with properly trained, armed good guys. Under Asa’s leadership, our team of security experts will make this program available to the world for protecting our children in school. And we’ll make the program available to every single school in America, free of charge. That’s a plan of action that can, and will make a real positive, indisputable difference in the safety of our children, and it will start right now.
LAPIERRE: There’s going to be a lot of time for talk, and debate later. This is a time this is a day for decisive action. We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work. We mustn’t allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. We must act now for the sake of every child in America.
I call on every parent. I call on every teacher. I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country, to join with us and help create a national schools shield safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that’s tested and proven to work.
And now, to tell you more about the program, I’d like to introduce the head of the effort, former U.S. congressman, former U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas, and former administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Honorable Congressman Asa Hutchinson.
FORMER REP. ASA HUTCHINSON, R-ARK.: Thank you, Wayne.
One of the first responsibilities I learned at Homeland Security was the importance of protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure. And there’s nothing more critical to our nation’s well being than our children’s safety. They are this country’s future and our most precious resource.
HUTCHINSON: We all understand that our children should be safe in school. But it is also essential that the parents understand and have confidence in that safety. As a result of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, that confidence across this nation has been shattered. Assurance of school safety must be restored with a sense of urgency.
That is why I’m grateful that the National Rifle Association has asked me to lead a team of security experts to assist our schools, parents, and our communities.
I took this assignment on one condition, that my team of experts will be independent and will be guided solely by what are the best security solutions for the safety of our children while at school. Even though we are just starting this process, I envision this initiative will have two key elements.
First of all, it would be based on a model security plan, a comprehensive strategy for school security based upon the latest, most up-to-date technical information from the foremost experts in their fields. This model security plan will serve as a template, a set of best practices, principles, and guidelines that every school in America can tweak as needed and tailor to their own set of circumstances.
Every school and community is different, but this model security plan will allow every school to choose among its various components to develop a school safety strategy that fits their own unique circumstance, whether its a large urban school or a small rural school such as we have in Arkansas or anything in between.
Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one element of that plan, but by no means, the only element. If a school decides, for whatever reason, that it doesn’t want or need armed security personnel, that, of course, is a decision to be made by the parents and the local school board at the local level.