Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) will be proposing a plan next week to ensure that every private and public school in his state will have the resources necessary to hire an armed guard to protect their students and staff.
If the state’s Republican-led legislature approves of the measure, millions of dollars will be given to public and private schools to increase their security.
This move comes in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee — where a 28-year-old biologically female “transgender man” massacred three children and three adults.
Republicans have long been demanding increased security at schools in response to mass shootings, while Democrats demand to restrict or remove Americans’ Second Amendment rights, claiming that will have an effect on mass shootings despite the fact that many of these shootings occur in areas with strict gun control laws.
The Tennessee governor’s plan would place an armed school resource officer in every public school, and would also provide funding for private schools to hire armed guards with the same level of training as the officers detailed to public schools. According to The Tennessean, the measure would not force private schools to join in on the program.
“I think we all understand when people are fearful, when people are angry when people lash out. I have those same emotions myself, we all do,” Lee stated. “We have an obligation, I have an obligation, to do what I can and work together with leaders across this community to address people’s concerns and to protect our kids in whatever way we can.”
The Republican governor has said that he will work to ensure that his plan will provide the funding and resources needed for schools to protect their students. While Lee proposed a budget earlier this year that provided $20 million in funding for schools to spend on security upgrades, he expressed a desire to expand that funding to help private schools do the same.
Lee also addressed concerns over the mental health aspect of the issue, as many conservatives have argued that the epidemic in mass shootings has come from an increase in mentally unstable individuals. The governor has stated that his new plan will also seek to provide more mental health support through school-based behavioral health liaisons.
“There will be conversations across the board about mental health for students and mental health in general. And support for those who need help, and who do in fact become a threat to themselves or others,” Lee said.
Meanwhile, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) also announced earlier this week that they would be introducing similar legislation at the federal level. The SAFE School Act would establish “a $900 million grant program that will allow both public and private schools to train and hire veterans and former law enforcement officers to serve as school safety officers, hire off-duty law enforcement officers, and provide funding to harden schools and increase physical security.”
Earlier this week I spoke to @JoeBiden after the senseless tragedy in Nashville. Today, @SenatorHagerty & I introduced legislation to provide $900 million for school safety.
It is clear this WH has no interest in protecting our kids. They just want to make this about politics. https://t.co/1j9jtGunxN
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) March 30, 2023