Armed Guards in Every Tennessee School: Gov. Bill Lee’s Plan

If Republican Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee successfully gets his plan through the state legislature, every public and private school in the state will be able to afford an armed guard.

After the horrific shooting at a Nashville Christian primary school on Monday, Lee intends to offer a plan next week to channel millions of dollars to public and private schools to bolster security. Under Lee’s proposal, every public school would have a school resource officer (SRO), and private schools could use public funds to employ guards with the same degree of training.

According to reports, private schools would not be required to participate.

Lee said it is understandable when people are fearful and angry; they lash out. He said he has an obligation to do what he can and work with leaders across the community to address people’s concerns and to protect kids in whatever way possible.

The Republican Governor has promised to put in extra time this weekend to ensure his education proposal results in more money and better school supplies. While $20 million was proposed for schools to use on security upgrades in Lee’s initial budget proposal for this year, he now wants to make that money available to private schools as well. Three adults and three 9-year-olds were killed by a transgender woman at The Covenant School, a private Presbyterian institution.

The SAFE School Act was announced to be introduced at the federal level by Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee earlier this week. The proposed law would create a $900 million grant program to help public and private schools hire off-duty police officers, fortify and secure their buildings, and train veterans and former law enforcement personnel to serve as school safety officers.

The Governor addressed issues related to mental health, and his new strategy includes efforts to increase access to mental health services through the use of behavioral health liaisons in schools.

Lee has stated that there will be discussions regarding mental health in the classroom and beyond, including aid for individuals in need who might be a danger to themselves or others.

When hundreds of demonstrators flooded the Tennessee state capitol in Nashville on Thursday, demanding that lawmakers take action to enact gun control, Lee suggested a plan to strengthen school security.

Lee alluded to gun control measures, such as red flag laws allowing the government to seize firearms from people deemed a risk to themselves or others.

It, in his opinion, is a realistic and considerate strategy. Lee reasoned that most rational people agree that individuals that pose a significant risk to themselves or others shouldn’t have access to firearms.

When asked to clarify his position on a red flag law, Lee’s office stated that it’s important for the Governor to pursue solutions that will protect both the lives and Constitutional rights of those in his state.

The Governor is proposing additional action within his current school safety proposals, according to an email from his office, following the recent tragedy at Covenant. These include funding to position an SRO in every Tennessee school, increasing physical school security, and providing additional resources for mental health for Tennesseans. The Governor stated yesterday that he intends to continue protecting the constitutional rights of Tennesseans and safeguarding the state’s populace from violent extremists. He thinks that any workable approach must guarantee both.