Gov. Haslam signs school security bill - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Gov. Haslam signs school security bill

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Your local school districts have been given the power to have armed teachers and retired police officers at your child's school.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill that allows school districts to let people with police training be armed in schools.

The measure passed the House 82-15 and was approved 27-6 in the Senate.

It allows schools to hire retired law enforcement officers after they meet certain requirements, such as completing a 40-hour school security course.

The measure makes information about which teachers are armed or which schools allow the guns confidential to anyone but law enforcement.

Haslam included $34 million in his budget for local government officials to use on their priorities, which could include security measures.

You'd think it would be welcome news for the unified school district as it is presenting a $1.18 billion budget to the Shelby County Commission in the next week.

According to its budget it will cost about $11 million on security and the money will be spent on staffing, equipment and programs.

Some argue that having an armed teacher who is properly trained could compliment school safety for the estimated 150,000 students.

The idea may find supporters on the unified school board but at least one board member, Kevin Woods, told FOX13 News he would vote against it.

"Quite honestly we hire teachers to teach," Woods said. "I want to pay our teachers to teach. I want to pay our teachers to be effective teachers and I want to pay our security teams to protect our schools. We budgeted for that and we passed our budget today and we are confident we can secure our schools."

The new law would allow school districts to hire retired police officers to work security at a school. It comes too late to really impact the unified school district.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office has hired and trained 21 new deputies to provide security at schools at a cost of $2.5 million. Hiring retired officers would only add to the security price tag.

To lower the cost to taxpayers in Shelby County, County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton are in discussions to have Memphis Police officers continue to have a presence at schools located within the city limits. But no decision has been made.

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