By: Bill Schammert
A western Nebraska senator believes school districts should have the option to arm teachers and staff.
"This is about protecting kids," Imperial Sen. Mark Christensen said. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
On Tuesday, he proposed LB-879, a bill that would give school districts the option to allow staff and personnel to carry concealed weapons, if they complete the required extra 24 hours of training.
That training would include the following:
- How to respond to active shooter situations.
- Weapons retention methods.
- Techniques related to barricading and evasion.
Sen. Christensen says he's most worried about rural communities.
And, it wouldn't necessarily have to be teachers, principals or custodians that are carrying, it could be any school employee. Therefore, schools could hire outside resources.
"It could be retired military personnel, retired police officers, or anybody that takes the training to be able to carry," he said.
Again, it would still have to approved by each individual school district.
'It's a tool schools can use if they choose to," the senator added.
Parents and grandparents we spoke with outside of a Lincoln middle school seemed scared by the issue.
"I feel strongly that they shouldn't, it's already frantic enough," Frank Eman said.
"If the children didn't know about it, it would be okay. But, if they do know about it, then it's scary," Patricia Wittins added.
Erica McAdams says she's more worried about the different personalities that could be allowed to have a concealed hand gun inside of schools.
"Teachers could flip just like any kid can; they could be the one that cause the problems," she said.
The Nebraska State Education Association is staunchly against the issue. On Tuesday, NSEA President, Nancy Fulton, issued the following statement:
"Guns have no place in our schools. Period. We must do everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, and concentrate on ways to keep all guns off school property and ensure the safety of children and school employees.
But this is not just about guns. Long-term and sustainable school safety also requires a commitment to preventive measures. We must continue to do more to prevent bullying in our schools. And we must dramatically expand our investment in mental health services. Proper diagnosis can and often starts in our schools, yet we continue to cut funding for school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists."