Teachers and staff at one Middle Georgia school system could pack heat in the future.
The Bleckley County school district is considering letting some employees carry guns on school property, according to a Twitter post from the district.
"In light of recent events in FL, we are reviewing security & emergency plans, booking active shooter training updates for all schools, and considering a policy to allow certain staff members at each school to be armed. Our prayers go out to everyone affected," the tweet said.
Superintendent Steve Smith said in an emailed statement that "discussing this matter is extremely premature." The district hasn't yet looked into or conducted surveys on possible policies and procedures, which would have to happen before any recommendation is made to the school board.
In light of recent events in FL, we are reviewing security & emergency plans, booking active shooter training updates for all schools, and considering a policy to allow certain staff members at each school to be armed. Our prayers go out to everyone affected.— BleckleySchools (@BleckleySchools) February 16, 2018
"We take the safety of our students seriously, and as our recent Tweet mentioned, everything is on the table for discussion, including the consideration of a policy which would allow selected staff members to carry a firearm on campus," he said. "We will not adopt such a policy without first getting input from parents, staff members, community members and students."
A Georgia law enacted in 2014 leaves it up to individual districts to decide if employees can carry guns on school property. It also sets forth specific requirements for the approval of employees who volunteer, types of weapons and ammunition allowed, firearms training, and licensing and methods of securing weapons.
"To our knowledge, no board of education in Georgia has implemented this," Justin Pauly, with the Georgia School Boards Association, said in an email. "The only one we have heard discuss this publicly is Floyd County Board of Education" in Rome.
The issue came up during Floyd County's board meeting Tuesday, reported Fox 5 News. Representatives for Bibb County, Peach County, Baldwin County and Dublin City schools said their districts have not discussed the issue.
Two school districts in North Texas already permit employees to carry handguns, and some Florida legislators want to change a state law that prohibits firearms on school property, according to WFAA-TV.
House Bill 280, passed in July, made it legal for students at public universities who are 21 and older to carry concealed firearms on campus, although there are restrictions on exactly where and when. Nine other states have similar legislation, according to USA Today College.
“I feel like with proper training and equipping the proper people, that could be very beneficial to protecting the kids in Bleckley County,” said Shane Savant, whose daughter attended prekindergarten through 12th grade in Bleckley County and whose son is in eighth grade at the middle school.
Savant, who has helped coach baseball at Bleckley County High, said he feels like a lot of people have the idea that teachers would have guns without proper training, but that wouldn’t be the case.
“Even if the policy has merit, we must ensure proper procedures are put in place so that those select staff members receive proper initial and ongoing screening and training,” Smith said in his statement. “Naturally, only staff members interested in and comfortable with being armed would be considered.”