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Richmond County school board weighs options for new gun law

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:11 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:24 PM
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Richmond County Board of Education members discussed how to adapt policies to a new Georgia gun law during Tuesday’s meeting, with one board member suggesting ROTC instructors be allowed to carry firearms on high school campuses while others detailed concerns about the new law being misinterpreted.

The law allows school boards to designate faculty or staff members in their schools to carry firearms. Any designee must first accept the nomination, go through marksmanship certification, understand laws pertaining to the use of deadly force, and be certified to carry a firearm. The firearm would either be worn on the staff member’s person or secured at all times.

The staff member would also undergo regular criminal background checks after being designated to carry firearms. The district must cover all training expenses.

Board Attorney Pete Fletcher opened the discussion with a description of the new law, stressing that the school district could refuse “to do anything at all” and adopt no policy to arm any faculty or staff member in the district.

“I looked at this law and joked that they took the paddles out of our hands and now they want to put guns in them,” Fletcher said. “But remember that this law does not mandate anything. We do not have to do anything at all. We can choose to select certain people in the district, but if we do we have to make sure we follow all of these stipulations to the letter. If not, we’ll be liable.”

Board Chairwoman Venus Cain said she was worried that people misinterpreting the new laws would try to carry weapons on school grounds and to school functions, and hoped to inform the public through the committee meeting.

“I’m not looking to put anything in place that would allow more guns in our schools,” Cain said. “But I do want our community know what this law actually means. They need to know that we won’t allow weapons on our school campuses being held by anyone we have not authorized. We have the right to escort you off the campus.”

Board Member Marion Barnes suggested informing people in other ways.

“Put up some signs and hang posters,” Barnes said. “People will misinterpret this law, and we need to make sure we move to stop that beforehand.”

Several members were outright opposed to allowing any school officials to carry firearms on school grounds, saying the 40 public safety officers already at Richmond County schools were trained to handle any outside threat.

But Board Member Jimmy Atkins said he thought the board should consider arming ROTC instructors and others “with the formal training already done.”

“I do think we could consider this option. The public safety officers can’t be in all areas of the school all the time,” Atkins said. “I think we should look at it. I know people have varying opinions on it, and I want input from all channels.”

Cain motioned to have the district’s print shop prepare signs and posters to warn the public that weapons were not allowed on campus, along with placing a similar warning in the next student hand book. The motion carried.

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WarrenvilleRepublican
161
Points
WarrenvilleRepublican 05/13/14 - 09:24 pm
2
0
Let Teachers Carry

If a teacher or administrator in a school is comfortable enough to go and get a concealed weapons permit and then get the additional training required by this new law, then that school employee should have the right to carry a weapon. The thing that really scares me is if the powers that be say "NO" to teachers who want to carry. What are people going to say when a school shooting in Augusta Richmond County happens? Do we need to wait for a catastrophe or can we be proactive and possibly avoid it all together?

corgimom
32219
Points
corgimom 05/13/14 - 09:35 pm
0
9
What Pete Fletcher said. You

What Pete Fletcher said.

You can't spank a student, but you can shoot one of them?

And what if an incident happened like that in Jonesboro, when a student was shot in the head with a BB gun? Would a teacher then shoot a child, in that intense, panicked situation, only to find that it was a BB gun?

corgimom
32219
Points
corgimom 05/13/14 - 09:38 pm
0
8
If my child was shot on a

If my child was shot on a school campus by a teacher, oh yeah, the district WOULD be liable.

The school districts refuse to take any action on these severely mentally ill kids, but then has no problem SHOOTING THEM?

REALLY???

GiantsAllDay
9578
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/13/14 - 09:59 pm
1
4
Why stop at ROTC instructors?

Why stop at ROTC instructors? I say let the ROTC students carry as well.

Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 05/14/14 - 12:02 am
4
0
This law isn't about shooting

This law isn't about shooting students. It is about giving the teachers and staff the means to defend their life and the lives of their students.

ironpurps
183
Points
ironpurps 05/14/14 - 01:39 am
2
0
Tazers

Why can't RCBOE police and administrators carry Tazers?

Riverman1
83716
Points
Riverman1 05/14/14 - 06:39 am
1
1
It will be interesting to

It will be interesting to compare what Columbia County does with the new law vs. Richmond County.

jaymai
389
Points
jaymai 05/14/14 - 08:58 am
2
0
What is some crazy teacher

What is some crazy teacher goes off because some student mouths off and starts shooting? I say arm everybody, including students. In fact, why not make it a requirement for ALL students and teachers and even the custodians have guns? It could eliminate discipline problems, problems with bullies, and at the same time make schools much safer and give parents peace of mind knowing they've sent their child to school armed and protected.

dichotomy
32842
Points
dichotomy 05/14/14 - 09:36 am
1
0
This is one of those "there

This is one of those "there is no good answer" things. The same people who are doing the "oh no, we can't allow that" act will also be the same ones who will say "what could we have done to protect our kids and prevent that mass shooting" if we have one. I don't want to hear it. This is your ONLY chance to take a proactive step.

It's a 50/50 coin toss. You are damned if you do and there is an accident and you are damned if you don't and there is a mass shooting. But if your kids were in that school with an active shooter roaming the hallways you would wish that there were armed teachers coming out of every room to protect your kids.

corgimom
32219
Points
corgimom 05/14/14 - 11:23 am
1
2
Common.sense, it is very hard

Common.sense, it is very hard to shoot another human being. Not only is it hard physically, it's very hard mentally and emotionally to kill someone, no matter what the circumstances.

And it changes people forever.

There have always been school shootings, and people coped with them. This idea to "arm school personnel to stop these shootings" is a very recent development, and a bad one.

Who would want their child taught by someone who is willing to kill a child?

And today, a man drove a truck into a building because he thought he was God. So how could anybody defend themselves against that?

corgimom
32219
Points
corgimom 05/14/14 - 11:23 am
2
1
Kids are in far more danger

Kids are in far more danger riding in a car, but you don't see people ranting and raving about THAT.

internationallyunknown
4181
Points
internationallyunknown 05/14/14 - 05:27 pm
1
0
What has become of this once

What has become of this once great country...

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