After a shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, announced plans to increase school safety by deploying school resource officers to all of the state’s schools. The concept was proposed by the governor after a transgender man, 28, killed six people at the Covenant School, including three young ones.
The suspect was shot and killed by police. Lee discussed the psychological toll the shooting has taken on the neighborhood.
“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 told The Tennessean.
“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.”
According to the governor’s plan, every public school in Tennessee would have a school resource officer, and private schools would be eligible for state money to hire one as well. This proposal, if passed by the state legislature, would mandate that private schools employ security personnel who meet the same minimum standards of training as those at public institutions.
But, private schools are not compelled to participate. A new school safety plan was advocated for by Lee in his top-of-the-state address earlier this year, and he issued a similar executive order the year before. The latest idea, which includes sanctions for public schools found to have security violations, has been under consideration by state lawmakers in recent weeks.
California news is available from the following sources:
- West Hills, California Shooting Leaves One Person Dead and Three More in Hospitals
- Officials in Nashville Have Released 911 Calls From the School Shooting There
- Shooting at Sikh Temple in Sacramento Leaves Two Wounded
This year, the governor’s preliminary budget plan included $20 million toward bolstering the safety of educational facilities. He also intends to propose allocating more resources to private schools from this pool. More mental health care would be sought through school-based behavioral health liaisons under the new approach.
Lee has a $250 million “trust fund” for mental health that has not yet been used.“Mental health concerns are something that we have to continue to invest in,” Lee said.
“There will be conversations across the board about mental health for students and mental health in general. And support for those who need help, and who do in fact become a threat to themselves or others.”
Despite the presence of extreme risk protection legislation (ERPO), commonly known as “red flag” laws, in over 20 states across the United States, Lee has not made any firm commitments in favor of such a policy. A person who poses an extreme risk to oneself or others may have their firearms temporarily taken away from them under “red flag” rules.
“Most practical, thoughtful people believe that individuals who are a threat to themselves or to others shouldn’t have access to weapons,” Lee said. “In my view, that’s a practical, thoughtful approach.”
Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all nine, as well as principal Katherine Koonce, sixty-two, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, sixty-one, and custodian Mike Hill, sixty-one, were slain in the shooting.
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