Should Republican Gov. Bill Lee get his way, every private and public school in the state of Tennessee will soon have the means to put up at least one armed security man to stand guard and protect children as they attend class.
Lee’s proposal involves sending millions of dollars to schools throughout the state in order to bolster security after a horrific mass shooting by a gender-confused individual left 6 dead, including 3 young children. The plan specifically promises to stick an armed school resource officer (SRO) at every public school in the state while giving money to any private school that would like to pay armed guards with an equivalent level of training as compared to those in the public system.
As TN mourns the loss of 6 precious lives, we're taking bipartisan action:
—SROs at every public school
—Physical security upgrades
—Enhanced mental health support
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 3, 2023
The Tennessean reported that while public schools would be mandated to secure a guard, private schools would not be forced to participate in the initiative. The outlet also indicated that the plan is not totally unheard of, as Lee has already placed SROs in some Tennessee schools, previously paying for 200 of them in 2019. It also noted that surveys have revealed that the vast majority of parents are more comfortable when schools have armed security present.
“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,” Lee remarked. “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.”
In wake of the aforementioned mass shooting, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) have sponsored a bill at the federal level entitled The SAFE School Act, which aims to form a $900 million grant program that will empower both public and private schools alike “to train and hire veterans and former law enforcement officers to serve as school safety officers.”
The Tennessee governor addressed the tragic event last week, noting that one of the victims was a good friend of his wife.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's wife was friends with a Nashville victim:
"Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends: Cindy Peak. Cindy was supposed to come over for dinner with Maria last night after she filled in as a teacher at Covenant."pic.twitter.com/7q20tyksrX
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 29, 2023
Lee reportedly promised he will give his proposal attention this weekend in order to ensure schools receive the funding and support they need.
He additionally emphasized that “mental health concerns” will remain a priority, saying, “There will be conversations across the board about mental health for students and mental health in general.”
Upon being asked by The Daily Wire to clarify his stance on ‘red flag laws,’ policies that allow for a court or police officer to suspend the Second Amendment rights of an individual despite no crime having taken place, Lee issued the following statement via email:
“In light of the recent tragedy at Covenant, the Governor is proposing further action within his current school safety proposals, including funding to place an SRO in every Tennessee school, boost physical school security, and provide additional mental health resources for Tennesseans… As the Governor mentioned yesterday, his goal is to continue to protect the constitutional rights of Tennesseans and protect Tennesseans from those who wish to do harm to themselves or others. He believes any practical solutions must ensure both.”