Protecting students at school, one local lawmaker wants to boost security in the classroom by giving teachers and other school employees permission to carry guns on campus.
Representative Phillip Lowe says this proposal is all about safety. He wants to give teachers and other school employees the ability to defend themselves and your children while on school grounds.
"You want the bad guy to think that anybody, any adult, in an entire district could have a weapon on them to defend those children," Lowe said. "You want them to think that on the play ground. You want them to think it while a coach is on a ball field. You want the bus driver to potentially be that person."
The bill would allow schools from k-12 to the university level to designate employees as 'school protection officers.'
That could be anyone from a principal in the front office, to a teacher in the classroom, or a custodian in the halls.
"I firmly believe that if you tell me I cant defend myself, then you should be providing protection," Lowe said. "Calling something a 'gun-free zone' is not protection."
The employee would have to go through law enforcement style training, be cleared of any anger issues, and have a concealed carry permit, according to House Bill 4716.
"By no means do I want to force anybody to do this, nor do I want to force any school or school district to choose it," Lowe said."That's their own choice, and this is an option that they have available to them with proper training to improve that."
The bill says becoming a school protection officer is a choice of the employee, and Lowe believes it's a way to keep costs low for schools and the state while boosting security.
The bill has many people split on where they stand on the issue though.
"Having been a graduate of Virginia Tech and seeing an armed teacher or professor could possibly make a difference in these mass shootings, and plus with my kids in school, I'm for that for the safety of the children," Jayme Duerk said.
"I think this would be a great way to help protect our children," Denise said. "It's an option I think schools should look at."
"I don't necessarily think that's the safety measure we can do to make our schools safer," Dipti Paudel "I think it would make children more uncomfortable than necessarily the school any safer. I think there's other measures we need to maybe look at first before we go that route with providing more guns in schools."
The bill would also give employee the option to carry a self-defense spray, something that could neutralize a threat.
Right now, the bill is in the house committee on education and public works, and Representative Lowe hopes it will get a hearing for further discussion.