Counties need to decide whether they want more armed guards, said Liza Cordeiro, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education. Right now the department needs more information - such as who would pay for the guards or whether they're effective - before it can comment, she said.
No person at the department is officially tasked with school safety alone. However, Cordeiro said Mike Pickens and the staff in the Office of Facilities helps counties address school safety. They help counties create safety plans, as well as a Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan for every school.
By August of 2013 each county will be required to have an "amped up plan" for safety online and accessible only to law enforcement officials, Cordeiro said. She did not elaborate on the plan, but said the department might have conversations on looking at creating a position devoted to safety.
President Barack Obama has said he plans to use the full power of his office to pursue gun control measures. Arne Duncan, secretary of education, echoed those statements Friday during a speech at a Washington elementary school.
During that speech he said members of the NRA support many of the president's ideas. He mentioned Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., by name as an example.
"My friend, Joe Manchin, the senator from West Virginia, summed up the new consensus well. He is a lifelong hunter and a lifetime member of the NRA," he said, according to a transcript of his speech.
"He said he doesn't 'know anyone in the sporting and hunting arena who goes out with an assault rifle. (He) doesn't know anyone who needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting,' " Duncan continued.
Manchin made those comments Monday during an interview on national television. He seemed to reiterate those statements in other interviews the same day. In a radio interview Wednesday though, he said he's always been a staunch advocate for guns rights and never meant to suggest banning assault weapons.
"I'm not supporting a ban on anything; I'm supporting a conversation on everything," Manchin said Wednesday during his interview with Hoppy Kercheval, popular West Virginia talk show host.
Gun control advocates and opponents alike questioned where Manchin stood following his comments.
In an opinion piece published Friday evening on the Washington Post's website, Manchin said the problem is multifaceted. He mentioned "military-style assault weapons," but also blamed video games and lack of treatment for the mentally ill.
He said he was in favor of discussing increased security in schools, as suggested by the NRA, but that isn't enough, adding the NRA has been unfairly vilified in connection to the shooting at Sandy Hook.
Manchin said in the editorial he would not support "one-track legislation that focuses exclusively on guns" but rather take a comprehensive approach to the issue.
Instead, he opted for a broad solution: the creation of a "national commission on violence." He said the group could "lead the national conversation," get to the root causes of the problem and issue a report "based on facts, not emotions or preconceived notions of what it takes to end mass violence in America."
In the past decade, schools across West Virginia have installed new locking systems, security cameras and other safety measures, Cordeiro said. Thaw and Hatfield both said that they think students are generally safe at schools.
There's no plan that's fool proof though, Hatfield said.