Debate Over Armed Teachers in Schools Heats Up

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Senate Bill 103 was filed back in January after the shooting at Marshall County High School.

“I want to prevent Marshall County High School incidents from happening. That’s the goal of my bill,” said Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris, a sponsor of the bill.

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The bill would allow school districts to authorize certain staff including teachers be able to carry a gun on campus.

“The number one thing that it does is it provides a deterrent factor. Right now for those schools in Kentucky that still have those signs up that say gun free zone, in my opinion those are just big signs saying come on in school shooter,” said Sen. West.

But if a shooter were to storm a school, many teachers say they don’t want to be the ones who would have to pull the trigger.

“That’s not why we got into teaching to carry a gun that’s not what we’re trained to do and we feel like the resource officers that are in our schools and our law enforcement officers are the ones that are qualified to do that,” said Jessica Hiler with the Fayette County Education Association.

But the sponsor of this bill says it’s mostly for districts that don’t have law enforcement officers.

“It’s a way for those schools that cannot afford resource officers to have another option,” said Sen. West.

Even so, many teachers say adding guns in schools is not the alternative option we should choose.

“Really what we need to be doing to ensure safety in our schools is working more with our mental health professionals to to make sure that we have quality mental healthcare for our kids that need it and providing that instruction and support for our kids,” said Hiler.

That is one aspect of this greater issue that lawmakers agree with but say this specific bill is just a starting point focused on school security.

“So pharmaceuticals and mental health is a huge component here. My bill does nothing to address that. So that will have to be, that’s a separate conversation,” said Sen. West.

Lawmakers say they are unsure if and when the bill will get a vote but they plan to continue discussing school safety long into the future.