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Panel talks gun safety

— “What you need from your media is ongoing, in-depth and crusading coverage,” Armao said. “You don’t know what you had until it’s gone.”

She also expressed the need to include children’s voices when covering tragic events.

“We don’t get kid’s voices enough in the media,” she said. “It’s important for the media to talk to kids.”

Regrouping and reinstituting

Robinson said there is some misunderstanding by the community when it comes to safety measures in schools. He added incidents like Columbine or Sandy Hooks are rare.

“The question is, are we trying to safeguard against death, or are we truly trying to create an environment that is focused on the everyday health and welfare of our students?” he said.

Robinson said schools are very safe relative to other public spaces like malls, playgrounds and subways.

“It’s a reality that we should ensure that we engage in approaches to try to address the problem and not just have a knee-jerk reaction,” he said.

New York State Trooper Kevin McMahan, who was one of the panelists and was involved in the School Resource Officer Program in Ballston Spa, said many schools have cut officer programs in the past because of cost, but are now considering putting them back in the budget.

“It’s still a good resource for schools,” he said. “The schools still need to work on safety programs.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2013 state budget released this week includes $3.2 million for “school safety improvement teams,” but it isn’t clear exactly what that money would go towards.

In response to a written question from the audience, though, McMahon declined to say whether any particular weapons should be banned.

“We need to focus on preventing incidents from happening, rather than on prohibiting any particular kind of weapon,” he said. “It’s controlling the situation, rather than focusing on the kind of weapon.”

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