Georgia schools resist effort to arm teachers

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, June 30, 2014

Georgia school leaders are turning down a new option to arm teachers, arguing that it doesn’t make kids any safer and creates more problems than state lawmakers intended to solve.

A string of attacks at schools and colleges in California, Oregon and Washington state hasn’t swayed education officials who say bluntly that they don’t believe guns belong in schools.

“We could give (teachers) all the training in the world as to how to a shoot a gun, but knowing when to shoot poses a major problem,” said Steve Smith, superintendent of the Bibb County School District. “The folks we work with day in and day out don’t have that.”

The provision was part of a sweeping law expands where Georgians can legally carry guns. It takes effect July 1 and also includes bars and churches. GOP lawmakers pushed the bill through during an election year in the largely pro-gun state, giving each district the option of arming teachers or staff — but requiring them to set training standards. The provisions were similar to a program that drew no interest from South Dakota school districts, and education officials said no districts in Georgia are pursuing it so far either.

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