Some state lawmakers want to allow local school boards to choose administrators who can carry weapons, but discussions Tuesday in a Georgia House subcommittee found there are a lot of details that need to be ironed out before a vote.
Gordon Higgins, spokesman for Hall County Schools, said he is glad dialogue is taking place following the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“It is encouraging that these conversations are taking place, that legislators are attuned to their communities, that people in their communities have expectations. This issue has been moving forward this legislative session,” Higgins said.
Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the drafts she’s seen thus far leave the matter to local choice.
“Depending upon the legislative action, our school board would then look at what procedures or protocols they want to put in place,” Dyer said. “... I would project that it would not be a decision that would be made lightly.”
She added that she hoped any sort of mandates coming from the Capitol would provide funding.
Bartow County Rep. Paul Battles brought up the issue, saying he wants to allow local school boards to choose administrators who can carry weapons, provided they are properly trained. The plan would provide a way to protect children without forcing schools to spend money on armed officers.
Chairman Alan Powell said he has questions about the kind of training that would be required, what kind of weapons would be allowed and effects on schools’ liability insurance.
Both Gainesville and Hall County school systems have been combing over security policies in recent weeks and making changes ranging from installing peepholes in doors to reallocating school resource officers’ time.
“Sandy Hook has created quite a conversation about the need for security in an elementary school,” Higgins said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.