Jones, Senate Republicans propose arming teachers to bolster school safety | #schoolsaftey

ATLANTA – State Senate Republicans will introduce legislation during the upcoming General Assembly session to let school districts pay and train teachers to carry firearms in their classrooms.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

GOP Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who presides over the Senate, said Wednesday increasing school safety will be a priority for Senate Republicans during the 2024 legislative session starting in January.

“One of the most critical duties we have as public servants is to protect those who are most vulnerable – including all of Georgia’s children,” Jones said during a news conference. “This legislation and associated state funding will ensure that our school systems and teachers have the necessary resources and training to increase safety across Georgia.”

The proposed legislation would build on school safety measures the General Assembly has passed in recent years. Lawmakers approved a key part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s legislative agenda this year requiring all public schools in Georgia to conduct active-shooter drills by Oct. 1 of each school year.

The new bill would give school districts the option of participating in firearms training that would lead to certification of teachers and include a stipend for completing the course. School districts would retain the right to determine for themselves whether to let teachers carry firearms on their campuses.

“With this legislation, we will make sure our teachers are more equipped to handle security threats [and] our schools are even more prepared for emergency situations,” said Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, chairman of the Senate Education and Youth Committee. “We [also] will expand grant programs to allow schools to hire additional security personnel.”

The “hardening” of classrooms by arming teachers has been a frequent Republican response in states across the nation to an epidemic of mass school shootings. Democrats have favored gun control measures rather than legislation leading to an increased proliferation of firearms.

This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, an initiative of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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