SC lawmaker proposes bill to arm teachers, staff

SC lawmaker proposes bill to arm teachers, staff

SOUTH CAROLINA (WTOC) - One South Carolina lawmaker believes that more weapons in schools could keep your children safe.

A group of state representatives introduced a bill that would allow K-12 employees to have guns on campus.

Lawmakers say arming a group of teachers and staff would add a layer of security to schools. But not everyone thinks more guns means safer students.

The School Protection Officer Act would allow school employees to carry guns or pepper spray at school – as long as the weapons are concealed or locked away in a secure safe. One member of Beaufort County's Citizens Advocating Responsible Education says he would not support the security measure.

"I don't think it's a good idea. Presently in Beaufort County, every school has a school resource officer. That individual is armed. I think that's more than sufficient. The last thing we need to be talking about arming teachers or even other school district personnel," said Richard Bisi, Citizens Advocating Responsible Education.

The bill states that the protection officers would be designated by a school board and would have to obtain a concealed weapons permit, go through a training program and pass background check with no history of violence or unmanaged anger.

Bisi says there's an inherent risk when bringing more weapons into schools.

"There is a risk. God forbid if a weapon ever ended up in the hands of a student who was causing a ruckus or whatever," said Bisi.

It's a risk some parents in Bluffton are willing to take. Kenneth Bassett and Kathy Walker say mass shootings happen on a daily basis and they are all for the bill, as long as the school protection officers are properly trained and responsible with their weapons.

"I think an extra layer of security would be a great idea. A qualified teacher or somebody that's had proper training would be perfect to have in school as an extra layer," said Bassett.

"I think I would be more comfortable as a parent, knowing that there are teachers who have the correct training and proper training if a situation were to come. I hate to say that for a middle school, we'd probably need it as much as a high school," said Walker.

If the bill is passed, it would be up to each school district to decide whether to have the school protection officers.

To take a closer look at the bill, please click here.

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