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Richmond County school board members differ on Georgia gun law

Saturday, May 3, 2014 7:06 PM
Last updated Sunday, May 4, 2014 1:53 AM
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A bill signed by Gov. Nathan Deal made it legal for local school boards in Georgia to authorize teachers, principals and other staffers to be armed on school grounds beginning in July.

This reversal from the long-standing push for schools to be gun-free zones made international headlines and posed serious questions to educators and parents. Would classrooms be safer if teachers toted guns at school?

Richmond County Board of Education President Venus Cain said she has added the discussion to the board’s May meeting in hopes of persuading her colleagues to keep Augusta schools gun-free. She said weapons have no place in schools and crime fighting should not be a teacher’s responsibility.

“Not in the school house,” Cain said. “I feel like we have so little concern for the next person’s life, that lives aren’t valued anymore. It’s like we’re turning into the wild, wild West where the way people deal with things is we pick up a gun.”

Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hart­well), a sponsor of House Bill 60, which has been coined the Guns Everywhere Bill by opponents, said the idea was to give school districts the option to arm its faculty if the communities so desire.

The law allows school boards to select certain people to carry guns. Those employees must be licensed carriers; undergo training for marksmanship and the law on use of force; and be willing to carry the gun in the first place.

The local boards will be responsible for all costs associated with training, equipment and liability insurance. Documents and meetings relating to personnel approved to carry weapons will not be open to the public.

“At the end of the day, I look at it that we have two things that dictate to us what we’re going to do in relation to weapons,” said Powell, the chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. “One is the U.S. Constitution. The other is what I consider the laws of nature that God Almighty gave every one a desire to survive and protect themselves. Some people take that more seriously than others.”

Alfonzo Williams, the Richmond County School Safety and Security chief, said it makes him nervous to think of teachers or principals carrying weapons, especially when trained school resource officers are on campus.

Richmond County has an armed resource officer stationed in every middle and high school. Six officers float between about 35 elementary schools.

Williams said a gun on the hip could be dangerous for teachers and principals, who often hug their students or have to break up fights. He also said these educators do not receive the ongoing training law enforcement officers get on proper stance, shooting techniques and how to react in a crisis.

“Unless it’s your area of expertise, unless it’s what you’re trained to do and it’s your profession, it causes problems,” Williams said. “In a school setting, teachers have too many other things to be concerned with without having to worry about doing the job of a law enforcement officer. Their job is to be concerned with teaching.”

Board of education member Frank Dolan, however, said in an age of school shootings and violence, having more armed adults on campus could prevent tragedy.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Dolan said of armed educators. “People go shoot up schools because they know there’s no guns.”

Board member Jimmy Atkins agreed, saying large schools with only one resource officer might be under-protected. He said he’d want to set policy ensuring employees selected to carry guns were highly trained, and suggested ROTC instructors, some of whom “are more qualified with a firearm than the public safety officers,” could be good candidates.

Board member Jack Padgett said he does not believe arming educators would make schools safer and could even cause more problems in a dangerous situation.

“The opportunity to do something or stop someone is not going to always have the right person in the right place with the right weapon,” Padgett said. “It’s kind of scary for me that we would arm people around kids. I prefer having trained security guards.”

Justin Pauly, the director of communications for the Georgia School Boards Association, said many school districts have reached out to his organization for guidance on the law, but he was not aware of any that were planning to adopt a gun policy.

He said districts still have questions regarding financial costs that will be put on school boards and the extent of training the law requires.

“We’re still exploring what this really means,” Pauly said. “There are a lot of unknowns.”

THE NEW LAW

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law April 23 that allows guns in some schools, churches and government buildings under certain circumstances and in bars without restriction. It takes effect July 1.

• School boards can adopt policy authorizing specific employees to carry a gun. These employees must be willing to carry, hold a license, receive training, and have a clean background. They are required to carry the weapon on their body or in a locked safe.

• The law does not allow school visitors or any other unauthorized people to carry a weapon to schools.

• The law allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and church­es, provided those places permit it.

– From staff
and wire reports

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Riverman1
79563
Points
Riverman1 05/03/14 - 09:19 pm
10
3
2nd Amendment Works

Like it or not, the Constitution says we can bear arms. Armed teachers stop attackers. It's nice to have armed officers in the schools, but they have just as many problems as civilian citizens. Witness the MCG officer who tased 24 people in a couple of years and shot a kid in the neck for running away from a loud music call with a real bullet. Armed citizens make government authorities of all kinds abide by the law. Witness the armed cowboys in Nevada when the feds backed away. The 2nd Amendment at work.

Old Vetern
66
Points
Old Vetern 05/03/14 - 10:05 pm
3
4
Control

The school board wants total control of the daily lives of the children, so that they can indoctrinate them in the CORE program, that is based on communism, total control of the population. Start with the children and as they get older they tell parents and then everyone is doing the same thing being lead to slaughter. remember Hilter did the same thing.

GiantsAllDay
9063
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/03/14 - 10:29 pm
2
6
I think that a one semester

I think that a one semester class on the operation of firearms should be a requirement for HS graduation. Probably best if taken in the sophomore or junior year. Also every HS senior over the age of 17 should be required to bring a concealed handgun to school everyday or face a 10 day suspension.

burninater
8887
Points
burninater 05/04/14 - 03:32 am
3
9
"It’s like we’re turning into

"It’s like we’re turning into the wild, wild West where the way people deal with things is we pick up a gun.”
----
No, most people aren't paranoid cowards that they feel like they need to take lethal force with them everywhere they go.

Do we have to put up with people like that to maintain a free state? Possibly. Does that mean we have to let the paranoid cowards define reality for the rest of us? Not at all.

nocnoc
38599
Points
nocnoc 05/04/14 - 07:07 am
4
3
Let me simplify this

There are basically 2 political camps at odds.

The Constitutionally Wrong Anti-Gun at any cost group

GUN FREE ZONE
ALL NUT JOBS AND MASS MURDERS WELCOME
ARMED RESPONSE TIME 10-15 MINUTES

The Concerned Parents and Persons Sign

NEVER AGAIN
AUTHORIZED USE BY DEADLY FORCE HERE.
RESPONSE TIME 10-15 SECONDS.
PRESS BUZZER FOR VIDEO / AUDIO PRIOR TO ACCESS
---------------------------------

Question
What teacher should be hugging a student to begin with?
Williams said ..... dangerous for teachers and principals, who often hug their students or have to break up fights.

Note: Many Pistol Hostlers are designed to greatly deter weapon theft during a struggle.

Besides
NO One is proposing just tossing a weapon at ANYONE who is Untrained.

NO One is proposing we force teachers to carry.

BY THE LAW
It is now possible to instantly defend children & staff in
schools, something the usual 1 RCBOE-Police officer at a school takes 2-3 minutes and the police 8-12 minutes to arrive and handle.

Why not issue the willing Teachers Tazers for breaking up fights?
Seriously why force teachers to place themselves physically in the middle and harms way?

ZAP the fighters after a loud audible warning they are going to do a jerky chicken. Let the brats pee all over themselves and suffer the shame that follows refusing to obey legal authority and orders.

Regarding the now "finally" presented idea of Armed Security. Remember this idea was loudly demanded 15 years ago and again 16+ months ago by the public? The parents and the public were given every reason under the sun not to do so, and NOTHING WAS DONE that lasted beyond a few weeks to a month for show.

This law a direct response to a MAJOR school safety problem that has continued since the 1960's. After 40+ years of playing Touchy-Feeling and Understanding, Lack of action has failed over 300 times and at the cost of over 150 dead. After 40+ years and many new schools being built, why don't we have secure schools?

Remember the average age of Shooter is between 10 - 19
and NOT even the Legal age to have or carry a Pistol.

Bodhisattva
5623
Points
Bodhisattva 05/04/14 - 07:11 am
3
12
God Almighty?

And though shalt carrieth a gun everywhere. Especially if thou art a paranoid nutcase.

john
886
Points
john 05/04/14 - 07:38 am
9
3
wow

Bod's plan for when bad guys show up is to just sit down and wait to die.

oldfella
599
Points
oldfella 05/04/14 - 07:55 am
9
2
Teachers aren't smart enough to use a gun?

Help me to understand this - somebody would rather trust a "security guard" because a teacher with a college degree isn't smart enough to comprehend basic weapons training, use of force, and the legal responsibilities of using this training? Wow - yet an 18 year old just out of High School joining the military can handle weapons and controlling violent people (with non-lethal force) to a high degree of proficiency and effectiveness in a very short time. IMO not trusting teachers with weapons is an insult to their intelligence.

seenitB4
81592
Points
seenitB4 05/04/14 - 08:48 am
6
2
Copycats galore

Times have changed...we are kidding ourselves if we don't protect our students in school.....too dang many idiots wanting to be headline news....I want a strong figure/teacher/whatever ready to protect my child.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 05/04/14 - 09:08 am
6
3
" Especially if thou art a
Unpublished

" Especially if thou art a paranoid nutcase."
bod, do you carry?

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 05/04/14 - 09:11 am
2
3
"Help me to understand this -
Unpublished

"Help me to understand this - somebody would rather trust a "security guard" because a teacher with a college degree isn't smart enough to comprehend basic weapons training, use of force, and the legal responsibilities of using this training?"
oldfella, you just don't understand the liberals way of thinking. Liberals and common sense have NOTHING in common.

itsanotherday1
40312
Points
itsanotherday1 05/04/14 - 09:17 am
7
1
This is shaking out just as

This is shaking out just as it should. Make it legal, but allow individual entities to decide whether or not they will allow CW's in their school, place of worship, place of business, etc.

nocnoc
38599
Points
nocnoc 05/04/14 - 10:03 am
2
3
Will those that Oppose protecting our students, teachers etc..

OFFICIALLY PUT THEIR NAMES ON A LIST,
so the next time it happens, and it will in those locations,
we can point to them, as helping made it possible?

csraguy
2103
Points
csraguy 05/04/14 - 10:33 am
3
1
Both Sides have merit

Teachers need to focus on teaching and allow campus police to focus on policing, each are well trained to focus on their primary responsibilities. I do agree that maybe arming assistant principals with the same training as LEO's would be a good idea. As the majority of problems are fights in schools and the teachers don't want to get involved for fear of getting hurt, arm them with Tazers.

Gage Creed
15767
Points
Gage Creed 05/04/14 - 01:07 pm
0
1
Guess it's time to commission

Guess it's time to commission the Pre-Crime Unit and toss the pre-cogs into the pool

gaj265
201
Points
gaj265 05/04/14 - 03:39 pm
2
1
Let's Face It

There will always be those who oppose guns, and it is their right not to carry. But those of us who choose to carry should have the right to protect ourselves and others, especially children. I think that qualified office and support personnel in the schools should be allowed to carry concealed weapons at schools. These are the people who are usually the first responders in a crisis. They are also the front line of defense for our schools.

Truth Matters
6283
Points
Truth Matters 05/04/14 - 07:10 pm
0
1
Why not look at who are the

Why not look at who are the people who are committing school fire arms violence and get at the root of why? It is not rocket science since the school shooters represent a narrow population.

Truth Matters
6283
Points
Truth Matters 05/04/14 - 07:16 pm
0
0
Strange that in one breath

Strange that in one breath school teachers are not smart enough to teach, but now some of those same folks who undermine teachers want to arm them.
Go figure!

Truth Matters
6283
Points
Truth Matters 05/04/14 - 07:47 pm
0
0
Hey, if you want armed

Hey, if you want armed teachers in the classroom, just hire policemen to teach.

corgimom
28053
Points
corgimom 05/04/14 - 11:02 pm
0
1
Nocnoc, I have hugged

Nocnoc, I have hugged literally hundreds of kids in school.

I did it just this week.

For many kids, that hug from a teacher is the only positive adult attention they will get all day, because they don't get it at home.

Why would you take issue with that?

There is a myth that if a school shooter were to start shooting, that this armed teacher would immediately shoot them and stop the rampage. So what happens when the shooter immediately shoots the armed teacher, and THEN shoots the kids?

What happens if the teacher misses and shoots an innocent student, so they can live with that for the rest of their life?

I wouldn't want my child to have a teacher that would be willing to kill a mentally ill child. Is that the type of person that you would want teaching your child? I don't know of any teacher, anywhere, that would kill a child.

But how do we teach children that guns should not be used to settle differences, if teachers are attending school every day with a gun prominently displayed?

How would we teach kids that violence is wrong if their teachers are armed?

Darby
23605
Points
Darby 05/05/14 - 12:33 pm
1
0
Cain said.

“I feel like we have so little concern for the next person’s life, that lives aren’t valued anymore. It’s like we’re turning into the wild, wild West where the way people deal with things is we pick up a gun.”

.
And that feeling is due to the fact that it has been and is a fact that we're hammered everyday with the concept that our lives aren't ours anymore. We are wards of the state and if we accept that, we can depend on Big Brother to look out for us and see to our every need. (Can't be done.)

And then there are the radicals. Those among us who see the truth and refuse to accept governmental domination of our lives from cradle to grave.

I don't like the idea of guns in schools either but if a "bad guy" is determined to wreak havoc in a given middle school, for instance, a law against concealed carry is going to do nothing to stop him.

Absolutely nothing!!!!

You're NOT a nutcase if you favor protecting yourself and your loved ones. You're a nutcase IF YOU DON'T...!!!!

Darby
23605
Points
Darby 05/05/14 - 12:55 pm
1
1
"Hey, if you want armed teachers in the

classroom, just hire policemen to teach."

.
Now that's really genius! We don't have enough cops now, but we can convince large numbers to give up their careers, go back to school, get a degree in education and return to the classroom as "teachers".

Brilliant! Glad I didn't think of it!

Anyway, I don't want armed teachers. Not the teachers we have now, anyway. Most of them are flagrant liberal wienies who don't know which end of a gun the projectile exits from.

On the other hand, in response to the often heard whine, "What if the teacher accidentally shoots a child"... Isn't that what the bad guy is there for anyway? Not much chance of a teacher doing the shooter's job for him unless the bad guy is holding a kid in his arms.

Who is going to take a shot at a perp while he holds on to a child? Oh, I forgot, we're talking liberals here aren't we?

They're not going to shoot at all, so it's really a moot point.

Vespidie
2
Points
Vespidie 05/05/14 - 02:01 pm
0
1
Regarding the often heard whine "

"What if the teacher accidentally shoots a child...."

It's obvious that statements (whines) like this are made by ignorant people with ABSOLUTELY NO idea what firearm safety is in the first place. I agree with Darby regarding the possibility of arming the current crop of "teaching professionals". Some of the whack jobs serving as teachers are probably more dangerous than any whack job that might walk onto school grounds with a gun.

As for the "daily hug routine" that corgimom mentions....if teachers spent more time teaching real world educational lessons and less time playing stand-in (surrogate) parents, public schools might be a lot better off. You walk a fine line if practicing the touchy-feely student educator game experience. The Georgia PSC might be very interested in speaking with you.

Truth Matters
6283
Points
Truth Matters 05/05/14 - 07:02 pm
0
1
"classroom, just hire

"classroom, just hire policemen to teach."

"Now that's really genius! We don't have enough cops now, but we can convince large numbers to give up their careers, go back to school, get a degree in education and return to the classroom as "teachers".

Brilliant! Glad I didn't think of it!"

Harley, It is about as brilliant as the idea to arm teachers.
That, my friend, is the point!

Truth Matters
6283
Points
Truth Matters 05/05/14 - 07:04 pm
0
1
Arming teachers, cont'd You

Arming teachers, cont'd

You don't want to make policemen go back to school to become teachers, but it is okay to make teachers play the role of policemen.

Now that is brilliant. (Eye roll)

Darby
23605
Points
Darby 05/07/14 - 09:50 pm
1
0
"That, my friend, is the point!"

The two are not even remotely related. The fact that you think they are underscores the fact that you don't work well with reality.

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