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NC wants to give raises to gun-carrying teachers

People at a gun range. (MaxPixel/Released)
March 12, 2019

Lawmakers in North Carolina introduced a bill that would offer incentives to teachers who are willing to undergo police training and carry guns to class.

The bill, named the School Security Act of 2019, was filed Wednesday and would provide a five-percent pay raise to teachers who become “teacher resource officers,” CNN reported Friday.

According to the proposed bill, teachers would undergo basic police training to become resource officers who would carry guns and have the authority to arrest non-law-abiding individuals.

Individual school boards would make the decision about whether to partake in the program. The program would cost around $4.8 million to train the teachers, CBS News reported.

The majority of teachers don’t like the idea at all, a poll conducted last year by the National Education Association revealed.

Among North Carolina teachers surveyed, 25 percent said “yes” or “maybe” to carrying a gun in their classroom if they were allowed to do so, according to the News Observer.

Republican State Sen. Warren Daniel co-sponsored the bill. He said the bill “is a way to put a lot of security on the ground in our schools. We’re arming a law enforcement officer who is also a teacher or a teacher who is also a law enforcement officer.”

“It’s extremely costly to put a school resource officer in every school … and there’s a great shortage of the number of applicants to law enforcement agencies. This bill is an attempt to bridge that gap,” he added.

Sen. Jerry Tillman, one of the sponsors of the bill, said, “This is an idea whose time has come. With the heightened awareness of the legislature, I believe this bill will see success.”

Tillman said no one would know which teachers are carrying a weapon. “It’s a big deterrent to somebody going to shoot up a school. You need to stop them any way you can,” he added.

However, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction said public schools in the state are already equipped with police officers or school resource officers.

“A disaster waiting to happen,” is what president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, Mark Jewell called the bill. He added, “We don’t need firearms in our schools. Guns could endanger both students and other adults in the building.”

He suggests other ways to increase security at the schools.

“Teachers need to be armed with support specialists such as psychologists, counselors and nurses to address the social, emotional and psychological health needs of our students,” Jewell said.

A similar bill was introduced in the House but doesn’t offer any salary increases.