MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Increasing school safety is a major goal in Tennessee. This comes on the heels of the shooting in Uvalde, TX that killed 19 children, and two teachers.
Leaders are revaluating what safety should look like.
Governor Bill Lee announced that if Tennessee were to pass a bill that would allow teachers to carry a firearm, he would be in favor of it.
Two parents whose children attend Shelby County Schools said if Tennessee were to pass the bill, they think it would be a little far.
Governor Lee said increased school safety is the main focus; however, leaders are working on ways to bring more accountability to the process.
“If we armed teachers, there’s a whole lot of trust in those teachers, but there’s a whole lot of training that will be involved with those teachers,” KUDZUKIAN Marketing and Communications VP Joy Doss said.
The devastation that shocked many has led some to reconsider what school safety should be like.
“I think about it every day,” Memphis Education Fund President and CEO Terence Patterson said.
Governor Lee announced that Tennessee leaders are working to increase school safety by adding more funding for more security. Lee also said if the state were to pass a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms in their classrooms, he would support it.
“If a teacher is willing and vetted, and there is the appropriate training... it’s certainly something that should be considered,” Lee stated. “I think there’s a lot that needs to be talked about on that subject before actually moved forward.”
Parent Terence Patterson said that may be a bit overwhelming for students.
“I don’t think elementary school is the place where we should be in a police state, and I think if we are arming our teachers, you now have created a police state in the classroom,” Patterson expressed. “It almost does the opposite in terms of making a child feel as though they aren’t going to be safe.”
According to the Education Commission of The States, teachers can carry a firearm in at least 10 states to protect children, so far Georgia, Kentucky, and Michigan are on that list.
Parent Joy Doss said she thinks other alternatives can be taken first.
“I do think there needs to be a stronger more 2022 appropriate set of protocols in place now that we’ve seen all of these things play out,” Doss said.
Lee said so far just within the past three years, the state placed more than 200 school resource officers on campuses that did not have them.
He stated that after the recent tragedy in Uvalde, more should be done.