A Georgia school district apparently became the first in the state to let some of its employees carry guns on campus, the Telegraph reported.
The Laurens County school board approved a policy last month letting select staffers carry guns on school property, in vehicles and at school functions, the paper said.
"We are not arming all teachers in [Laurens County schools], nor will we have teachers or any other staff members 'openly' carrying firearms during the school day," Laurens County school Superintendent Dan Brigman said, the Telegraph noted. "The processes to support this approved policy will be developed in a very careful and confidential manner in partnership with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department."
'Time is of the essence'
Brigman added: "Time is of the essence when it comes to a school crisis, particularly the threat of an active shooter on campus. Our county's size often creates a great amount of time for law enforcement to respond to our outlying schools. It's essential that we have plans and protocols in place to develop somewhat of a first-responder process to extend beyond the school lock-down," the paper said.
Laurens County already has armed school resource officers at some of its schools, the Telegraph reported, adding that teachers and staff members would carry guns on a voluntary basis and receive intensive training.
More from the Telegraph:
According to policies from Laurens County and Georgia, approved employees must receive proper training on judgment, pistol shooting, marksmanship and relevant laws before they are authorized to carry weapons on school property. Guns can be concealed by school staff if they are carried in holsters, but they may not be kept in purses, briefcases or accessories that aren't being worn. They also can be stored in locked safes or lockboxes.
Implementation of Laurens' policy is still in the planning stages, and the district and the sheriff's department have not yet determined how many employees at each school will carry guns or when they will be allowed to start.
In 2014, Georgia lawmakers left it up to individual school districts to decide if employees could carry guns on school property, the paper said, adding that districts wanting to opt in must follow specific requirements, including types of weapons and ammunition allowed, and implement firearms training, licensing and security.
Apparently the first in the state to do this
Laurens County is believed to be the only Georgia school district to go forward with such a policy, Justin Pauly of the Georgia School Boards Association told the paper.
More from the Telegraph:
Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming are among at least eight states that allow teachers in K-12 schools to carry guns in some capacity, according to the Wall Street Journal. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Maryland and Oklahoma introduced bills this year to make it simpler for school employees to have weapons on campus.
School board chairman Kenny Stewart told the paper there's a misconception that the district will be handing out guns to teachers at the door, which isn't the case at all.
What do parents have to say about the new measure?
Shaketha Marion has children in third and sixth grades at a district elementary school and isn't happy about the teachers and staffers potentially carrying guns, the Telegraph said.
"I think there are other ways they can provide security for the students and the staff," she told the paper. "[Teachers] have a lot to deal with as it is. I really think they just need a security officer at each school and even metal detectors. To see that they didn’t even look at that as a possibility and just went straight for the guns, it shocked me."
But Debra Shepard who attended district schools told the Telegraph she would have supported such a policy when her now-grown kids were in school and wants other security measures such as metal detectors added as well.
“I agree with it, as long as they’re well-trained," she added to the paper. "I think it’s needed for their protection. I think it will just make people more aware. I don’t think the students need to know who’s carrying."
(H/T: Bearing Arms)