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Georgia school board passes plan to arm more personnel, despite attempts from vocal opponents to shut down meeting: 'Delay the vote!'

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The Cobb County School Board, representing the second-largest school district in Georgia, has just passed a plan that will permit some non-law-enforcement staff members to carry guns. However, some objected so strongly to the idea that they attempted to shut down the meeting through shouts and other non-violent disruptions.

On Thursday night, the school board passed a measure that will allow staff members who are not certified police officers to volunteer to carry a concealed firearm on campus. To qualify, they must first complete the proper training and pass an annual criminal background check. The measure explicitly prohibits teachers from carrying guns.

"I am not in favor of arming teachers. However, I am in favor of investigating all options so we could hire retired military, retired law enforcement," Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said at the school board meeting.

“This policy gives us other opportunities to enhance and increase the number of school resource officers in our district."

According to Ragsdale, the district currently has only 67 officers to protect more than 107,000 students in 112 schools.

However, many opponents are concerned that the measure will jeopardize the safety of schoolchildren and perhaps even the stability of race relations between students, teachers, and parents.

“This is not the solution," said one woman who claimed to have a daughter in the district. "The goal is to be more safe. Guns simply do not belong in schools unless they are operated by trained law enforcement professionals.”

"How are our children who are already traumatized by other elementary schools supposed to know that someone in school who is armed is safe if they are not a school resource officer?" asked another woman.

One man told the board: "And now we put out there something that I think will accelerate the division between this school board and black parents."

A sizeable number of meeting attendees who were opposed to the measure attempted to shut down the meeting. "Delay the vote!" they shouted, hoping to force members to hold the vote at the August meeting instead.

The shouters managed to disrupt the meeting but not to thwart the vote. The measure passed, although it's unclear whether the final vote was 4-2 or 4-3. There are reportedly four Republicans and three Democrats on the board.

Following the heated meeting, the chairwoman of the Cobb County Republican Party, Salleigh Grubbs, released a statement that reads in part, "The attempt of a few far-left members of an anti-gun group to hijack our school board meeting last night is incredibly naïve. We live in a dangerous world and our children must be protected. More highly trained public safety professionals who can protect our students from intruders is good for our schools. Period."

The state of Georgia passed a law in 2014 that gives school districts the option to allow teachers to carry guns on campus. State law also protects school employees from punishment if they refuse to carry.

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