The Lee County, Virginia, school board has unanimously approved a proposal that would pay for the arming and training of school teachers in the county. The vote makes Lee the first of the Old Dominion’s 95 counties to pursue this path toward protecting its students from armed violence. The decision to arm staff members has been more than a year in the planning. The school district has not experienced school shootings, but recent events, including the February school shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, pushed district leaders to implement their plan.
Officials said there will be only a limited number of armed teachers and their names will not be publicly disclosed. Lee County schools will now begin taking applications from teachers interested in being armed on campus. Those teachers will receive:
- Background screenings
- Psychological evaluations
- Extensive firearm and tactical training
They expect the plan to be implemented by September for 11 schools in the 3200 student district. Many Lee County teachers are willing to go face-to-face with a gunman if it means saving one of their students.
Ronald Earley, a former Lee County teacher said,
“Sooner or later, it could happen and, like some of the board members said, we need to be prepared in case it does”
More than a dozen states allow school systems to determine whether teachers and staff members can be armed. After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, calls to arm teachers came from a number of corners, including from the highest office in the land. President Trump tweeted.
….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
There are at least 14 states that already arm teachers; Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Another 16 states give local school boards the authority to decide whether school staff can carry guns.
Nothing is more important or valuable then our children. They are the future. It’s time the schools have armed teachers, who would be the true first responders, to protect our children, they are absolutely worth it.