If Governor Bill Lee (R-TN) gets his plan passed by a Republican-led legislature, every Tennessee private and public school would be able to employ an armed guard.
After the horrific shooting at a Nashville Christian elementary school on Monday, Lee will propose a plan next week to divert millions of dollars to public and private schools to strengthen up security.
Lee’s proposal would put an armed school resource officer (SRO) in each public school and support private schools to employ armed guards with the same level of training as those in public schools. The Tennessean claimed that private schools would not be obliged to participate in the initiative.
According to the news outlet, the Tennessee governor stated:
“I think we all understand when people are fearful, when people are angry, when people lash out. I have those same emotions myself, we all do,” (…) “We have an obligation, I have an obligation, to do what I can and work together with leaders across this community to address people’s concerns and to protect our kids in whatever way we can.”
The Republican governor also reportedly stated that he will work over the weekend to ensure that his proposal provides schools with the necessary cash and resources. Lee’s proposed budget earlier this year includes $20 million for security enhancements in schools, but he wants to expand that spending to include private institutions. The Covenant School is a private Presbyterian school where a transgender woman murdered three adults and three nine-year-old children.
Tennessee Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty stated earlier this week that they will launch The SAFE School Act at the federal level.
The bill proposes “a $900 million grant program that will allow both public and private schools to train and hire veterans and former law enforcement officers to serve as school safety officers, hire off duty law enforcement officers, and provide funding to harden schools and increase physical security.”
According to The Tennessean, the governor also addressed “mental health issues,” adding that his new plan will seek greater mental health help through school-based behavioral health liaisons.
Lee’s proposed school security plan comes as hundreds of demonstrators stormed the Tennessee state house in Nashville on Thursday, demanding that lawmakers act to enact gun control legislation.