BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A survey released late last week showed uncertainty among New York state school board members about whether students have adequate access to mental health services.

The New York State School Boards Association conducted an informal poll of its members in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead at the hands of gunman Adam Lanza.

The results of the survey were disheartening, the board said. More than half of the respondents to the survey either said they do not believe students have enough access to mental health services – 38 percent – or that they were not sure if students had adequate access – 14 percent.

“School safety should be our number one priority. We were surprised to find that more than half of respondents to the poll – 52 percent – expressed reservations about whether their students have sufficient access to mental health services and treatment,” New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer said in a news release.

The poll also found that 68 percent of respondents believe federal funding should be provided for school resource officers – police officers who are permanently assigned to one or more schools. Twenty-one percent said funding should not be provided, and 11 percent were not sure.

A total of 50 percent of respondents also said stricter gun laws would make schools safer, while 42 percent said they would not. Eight percent were not sure.

“Students and teachers must have a strong sense of safety in the classroom for the learning process to take place,” Kremer said in the release. “A multi-dimensional approach to school safety that incorporates bullying prevention, mental health services, responsible use of firearms, and additional school resource officers would likely have a better chance of success than any one single intervention by itself.”

How would you answer the questions that were posed to the school board members? Leave your comments below…

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