President Donald Trump says drills that teach students how to respond if an active shooter ever enters the premises "are a very negative thing."
Trump says he wouldn't want to tell his son that he has to go through an active-shooter drill. The youngest of Trump's five children, 11-year-old Barron, attends a private school in Potomac, Maryland.
Trump spoke as he opened a school-safety discussion with state and local officials at the White House Thursday in response to the fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week.
The president says he'd prefer what he called a "hardened school" over active-shooter drills. Trump has said making schools safer will be a top priority for the administration. He has floated the idea of arming teachers as a possible deterrent.
Deputy press secretary Raj Shah worked to clarify the president's statements. During the White House press briefing later Thursday, Shah said that the term "active shooter drill" is what is frightening to the children and that "safety drill" would be more appropriate.
The president doubled down on his positions Thursday morning in a Twitter blitz, passionately clarifying that he means concealed weapons for "gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best."
He tweeted: "I never said 'give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC.” Trump says that giving concealed weapons to highly trained teachers would allow them to, in his words, "immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions."
Trump added: "Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this." He says: "ATTACKS WOULD END!"
He argued that armed teachers would be able to quickly respond to a three-minute attack in the "approximately 5 to 8 minutes" it takes for first responders to reach the scene.
Trump said this would be a "GREAT DETERRENT!" to gunmen.
He continued: "If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work! I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!"
He then praised the NRA for its "hard work," saying "Wayne, Chris and the folks" are "Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
Meanwhile Florida authorities are asking the federal government for at least $1 million in emergency grant funds to reimburse state and local agencies for the cost of responding to last week's school shooting.
Petrina Tuttle Herring, a bureau chief over grants for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, made the request Tuesday in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Herring wrote that the total cost of the response to the shooting can't yet be determined, but local agencies say they incurred "significant costs." She called the $1 million an initial amount to help cover the personnel costs for investigative, intelligence and custody/supervision work, plus ongoing and capital expenses stemming from the incident.