BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. — Some North Carolina lawmakers want teachers to carry guns in order to protect students.
That plan is in a state Senate Committee and to make it more enticing for teachers, those who complete the basic law enforcement training would receive a 5 percent pay bump.
Channel 9 spoke with the state's highest educator about the plan.
"I know there are some teachers who would like to arm themselves, but I also know there are so many distractions in the classroom that would make that a challenge," said Mark Johnson, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Instead, he believes trained school resource officers at every school would be a better source of protection.
But many teachers are against the plan.
"I honestly think that this is an idea that should never come to pass," said Paula Dinga, a third-grade teacher and president of the Buncombe County Association of Educators. "The job that is carried out every day by teachers in the classroom is complex enough and there are decisions after decisions being made by teachers that do not need to be complicated by the decision to use lethal force."
She said Senate Bill 192, which is also being called the School Security Act of 2019, is a terrible idea.
"It's a dangerous proposition to think that hardening our schools and bringing more weapons into the environment would be an answer to the problems that are producing the violence," said Dinga.
Republican Senator Warren Daniel said the teachers would receive the training equivalent of a reserve deputy.
"If you want to have a security presence in every school at the level it needs to be, this is the kind of approach that I think is reasonable and affordable," said Daniel.
School districts across the state would have some say in this.
"They would get to decide whether the teacher actually carries the weapon on their person or if they have it in some kind of a locked vault that would allow them quick access in the event of an emergency," added Daniel.
The school system could also choose to opt out altogether.
If it passes, this bill would provide more than $9 million to cover training and raises for teachers.
Teachers would also be given the same arresting powers on campus as school resource officers.
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