Putting armed guards in schools to deter violence is not something local educators, parents and even law enforcement see as viable.
The National Rifle Association's suggestion Friday that armed guards should be placed at every school to protect children from mass shootings was quickly dismissed as counter-productive, costly and probably unnecessary.
"Schools are safe havens and while you may have some horrible things happen in isolated incidents, by and large our schools are very safe," said Windsor Schools Superintendent Tammy Gabel, echoing the sentiments of other educators interviewed Friday.
The NRA's solution to stopping shootings like those that occurred last week in Newtown, Conn., was condemned by California elected officials.
"Everyone agrees our schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, streets and communities need to be safer. But we need a comprehensive approach, and the NRA proposal needs to go beyond just arming more people with more guns to make this happen," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, said Friday in a post on his Facebook page.
Thompson, who is heading a congressional task force on gun violence, called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The solution, he said, must also involve improving background checks on people buying firearms, enhancing mental health services and "addressing our culture's glorification of violence."
Attorney General Kamala Harris decried "reckless calls to saturate our schools with guns" instead of efforts to remove guns from the hands of dangerous people.
California Senate leader Darrel Steinberg called the NRA's proposal to "militarize" schools "profitable fear mongering."
"What's next? Armed guards at Starbucks and Little League games? This is completely the wrong direction," Steinberg said in a statement.
Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm also said there needs to be a different approach to the problem.
"If you're looking for an easy fix, like putting armed guards in school, I don't think that's the answer," he said.
Schwedhelm said he agrees with proposals for reducing gun violence that include reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity bullet magazines, as well as closing loopholes at gun shows.
The police chief said gun violence is a complex problem that requires a "holistic approach" to address a range of societal problems, including the need for more preventative mental health programs.
"There's no magic bullets out there," he said.
Sara Nerius, PTA president at Santa Rosa's Proctor Terrace School, also disagreed with the NRA proposal.
"I don't personally feel that the answer is to have people with guns inside the school — that fighting guns with guns will make things any better," she said.
The mother of a kindergarten student and a fourth-grader, Nerius emphasized she was speaking for herself and not the PTA.
"What kind of message is that sending to kids who are supposed to feel safe going to school, if there are people there with guns? How does it make them feel even if they are there to protect them?"
Steve Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools, said schools should be safe havens for teachers and students, but armed guards are not the answer.
"I think the use of any type of police or military presence is counter-productive to the purpose of education. It's the antithesis to what I believe in," he said.
Herrington, like other school officials, makes an exception for programs with police officers that come on campuses and interact with students.