State Bill to arm teachers still alive a year after Sandy Hook

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Right now schools in South Carolina are still gun-free, which is welcome news for Barbara Graf.

Graf moved to Conway five years ago. She said she remembers frequently driving past the children of Sandy Hook Elementary. "I pray for this country that we all get back to being kinder more loving toward each other and maybe we won't have all these problems."

It's those problems, including the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary almost a year ago, that prompted State Representative Phillip Lowe to propose a bill to allow public school employees, who have concealed weapons permits to carry on school grounds.

Erin Bunting, a Coastal Carolina student, said she's noticed the beefed up security since Sandy Hook when 26 students and faculty were killed by a lone gunman. She said with the proper education for teachers and employees, she feels it's a good idea for them to carry.

On the other spectrum is Phyllis Stevens. She has 10 grandchildren who she said all attend Horry County schools. "I think it's a bad idea because teachers are human, and they do go off."

The proposed bill was filed last December by Lowe. It's currently in the general law subcommittee. It's been debated, but hasn't been officially voted on. The Horry County Schools Spokesperson Teal Britton said the district will follow whatever the state mandates, but in her experience adding guns isn't the answer.

"I think back to some of the real situations we've had in Horry County Schools. In both cases it was believed the student went after the SRO's (school resource officers) weapon."

Those school resource officers are trained to properly take down a gunman. There is one school resource officer in every middle and elementary school in the county. At this time the school board isn't considering adding any additional officers or security to any of the schools.

After the tragedy of Sandy Hook, Britton said speeding up the installation process of all the school buzzer systems was a top priority. Two buzzer systems in the county need to be notified. The entrance buzzers to The Academy of Technology and Academics and the St. James Middle School will be adjusted during the holiday season.

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