Governor Bill Lee Proposes New School Safety Legislation

Governor Bill Lee Proposes New School Safety Legislation

Tennessee officials have proposed new actions and legislation aimed to increase school safety in public and private schools, Governor Bill Lee announced on Monday.

Lee announced that the legislation would include funding to place an armed security guard at every Tennessee public school and provide more mental health resources for Tennesseans.

“There is nothing more important than our students safely returning home each day,” said Lee.

The amended legislation would enact an accountability plan to make sure all exterior school doors are locked. The amended HB322/SB274 would also require private security guards to receive active shooter training before being posted to a school, every school district to establish threat assessment teams and every public and private school to develop annual safety plans that would include an incident command drill.

Lee and other legislature also proposed several budget amendments as listed below.

  • $30 million to expand a statewide homeland security network with 122 agents serving students at both public and private schools
  • $140 million to establish a School Resource Officer (SRO) grant fund to place a trained, armed security guard at every public school
  • $20 million for public school security upgrades
  • $7 million for private school security upgrades
  • $8 million for additional school-based behavioral health liaisons across the state

House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons released a statement after Lee’s announcement.

It’s been a whole week since The Covenant School shooting, and Bill Lee has yet to utter the word “gun.” This fact evidences a political cowardice that plagues our Capitol and threatens every community.

The need to put an armed security guard in every school is a result of the real problem. It is NOT a solution to the problem.

I am appalled that Governor Lee would rather militarize our schools and make our children feel imprisoned in their own learning environment than reach across the aisle to pass common sense gun safety legislation.

We, as Democrats, remain committed to pushing legislation such as “red flag laws” and to encourage responsible gun ownership, and we hope our Republican legislative colleagues will work with us on these efforts. Hopefully, they will demonstrate the courage that is so sorely lacking in the governor’s office.House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons

Story courtesy of WVLT