Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tennessee Law Already Allows For Armed Teachers

WAYNESBORO, TN- In 2018 a school shooting has happened every 2.5 days. In Florida on Tuesday, 17 people, mostly students were killed by a lone gunman.

In reaction to the latest school shooting, social media blew up with comments like "We need armed teachers" or "We need officers in every school."

In 2016, former teacher and principal turned State Representative David Byrd sponsored a bill and passed that bill into law that would allow distressed rural counties to arm school employees. Wayne County is one of those counties.

Byrd said he met resistance from sheriffs association and police association when he proposed the bill. "If we are successful in this, they are afraid it will cost them money" Byrd said.

Byrd went on to say that "some law enforcement has used fear and that they cant get insurance as a reason not to train staff."

In Wayne County to post a school resource officer in each school, the cost would rise to approximately $475,000 first year. That first year would include the purchase of cars for the 7 new officers needed and outfitting them. In the subsequent years, the cost would drop to approximately $275,000. To fully fund the 7 new deputies a property tax increase of .18 cents would be needed. That increase would raise the average tax bill in Wayne County by about $9 a month.

Perry County Sheriff Nick Weems is looking at another solution "The superintendent of schools, Eric Lomax and I have been putting our heads together this morning for the betterment of security in our schools."  Weems said that his office had just recently conducted active shooter drills in all Perry County Schools and he reported findings and recommendations to the school board at their last meeting.
"Lomax and I are actively working together in plans to place armed guards in all of our schools. We are lacking one important item, funding." 
Weems said that his proposed plan would cost the county just over $100,000 a year. 

Wayne County Sherriff said that he would love to be able to put a deputy in every school, but until we can get insurance for our most valuable asset, our employees, that he would be "against it."

Wilson said currently that he could hire new SRO's but after they got a couple years experience that they would leave for better pay and benefits.

When asked about the bill that allows the arming school board employees the three-term sheriff said  "There are plus and minuses to it", "In a crisis how would law enforcement identify the armed teacher from a possible shooter."

Wayne County Commissioner Phillip Casteel said on Facebook "I think one entrance, metal detector disabling next available entrance to keep weapons out of the building is the best solution."

"Everybody wants something but nobody wants to pay for it", Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubat said when asked about the additional revenue needed to fund an SRO in each school.

Just hours before the tragic shooting in Florida, Byrd filled an amendment to his legislation that would allow the schools to be trained by a certified trainer in addition to law enforcement. 

Weem's added "This is not the fix all to the society that we have become, but it will definitely be a good start. Our big government and national leaders better get their heads out of the sand and stopping wasting funding on things that don't matter and start funding things to protect our loved ones. These mentally ill and evil hearts are not going anywhere. The talking is over, it's time to act!"

Photo: ABC News