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Armed School Security Guard Clark Arnold Leaves Gun Unattended In Student Bathroom

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School officials announced last week that they had hired retired county sheriff Clark Arnold to serve as Chatfield's armed security officer.
School officials announced last week that they had hired retired county sheriff Clark Arnold to serve as Chatfield's armed security officer.

The National Rifle Association sparked controversy in the weeks following Wayne LaPierre's call to place armed guards in every school. LaPierre called such a move "the one thing that would keep people safe," but one that may have backfired for a charter school that took his advice to heart.

While President Barack Obama and gun control supporters have expressed skepticism about staffing schools with armed guards, Chatfield School in Lapeer, Mich. -- like LaPierre -- felt that its students and staff would be safer with such security measures.

So school officials announced last week that they had hired retired county sheriff Clark Arnold to serve as Chatfield's armed security officer.

"It's a tremendous asset to the safety of the students," Chatfield School Director Matt Young told WNEM. "Providing a safe environment and an atmosphere where parents are comfortable, students are comfortable, and feel safe so that they can focus on learning."

But just days later, school officials revealed to The Flint Journal that Arnold had "made a breach in security protocol" by leaving his unloaded gun in a school restroom "for a few moments."

Young declined to comment to The Flint Journal on repercussions for Arnold, citing "personnel" reasons, but said in a statement that additional security measures have been implemented and no students were involved or affected by the incident.

Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh tells the paper that Arnold likely will not face criminal charges because no one was harmed in the incident.

"It's almost like no harm no foul," Konschuh said.

As part of a series of far-reaching gun control proposals, President Barack Obama recommended Wednesday a federal $150 million "Comprehensive School Safety Program" that would help school districts hire school guards, counselors and other staff -- if those schools choose to do so.

The proposals come one month after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that renewed national interest in gun control.

In Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has launched a pet project that sends 500 uniformed volunteers, some armed with automatic weapons, to patrol dozens of schools in the Phoenix area. Critics have called the move "crazy."

And in 1999, armed guards at Columbine High School still failed to stop what LaPierre calls "a bad guy with a gun" in the deadliest mass shooting at an American high school.

Experts also say that bringing weapons onto school grounds would do more harm than good.

"Singular horrible events like [the Sandy Hook shooting] make us all upset, but if we look at the data, it doesn't make sense that that's where we need to beef up security in a very expensive way -- not only financially but also at the cost of our children's feeling of security," Kenneth Dodge, director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University told The Huffington Post last month. "Isn't it more straightforward to just get rid of the guns?"

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