Governor Bill Lee (R-TN) has brought forth a new bill that if he gets his plan pushed through a Publican-led legislature, will seek to give each and every Tennessee public and private school the resources to secure an armed guard.
Next Week, Lee is expected to propose a new plan to send out millions of dollars to both private and public schools in an effort to maximize their security in the wake of the recent mass shooting that took place at a Nashville Christian elementary school last week. Lee’s new plan would place an armed school resource officer (SRO) in every single public school and offer funding for all private schools to bring on their own armed security guards with the same level of training as those offered to public schools. Private schools would not be forced to take part in this new program, explained a report from The Tennessean.
“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,” explained Lee. “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 reportedly stated that he will be doing work to make sure that his plan will ensure that schools get this funding and the other resources that they need. Lee’s proposed budget from earlier this year included $20 million for all schools to make use of for security upgrades, but he wants to issue an expansion to that section of funding to also assist all private schools. As the location where a trans-identifying woman killed three adults and three 9-year-old children, the Covenant School is a private Presbyterian school.
Just last week Tennessee Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty announced a plan to introduce the SAFE School Act to run at a federal level. This law would seek to set up “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.”
The governor also spoke up about a number of “mental health concerns,” going on to add that his new plan is slated to try and secure additional mental health support through school-based behavioral health liaisons, as reported by The Tennessean.
“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,” he concluded.