MCCOMB, MS (Mississippi News Now) –
The possibility of teachers arming themselves in Mississippi classrooms is moving closer to becoming a reality, but not all school districts are embracing House Bill 1083.
Over at Denman Junior high in McComb, school district officials admit they are concerned about the new bill that would put firearms in the hands of teachers and staff members.
“This is not a war zone, this is a place of education,” said Safety Director Gregory Gilmore.
Bill 1083, advancing in the Mississippi State legislature, was created in response to school shootings across the United States.
The proposed plan to arm teachers after having firearms training would not be mandatory, instead, up to each district.
While some in the Magnolia State believe having more guns in the classroom is a must to improve safety. Safety Director Gregory Gilmore says teachers have enough on their plates and guns will be an added burden.
“We shouldn’t arm a school like we arm a prison," said Gilmore. "Teachers are there to teach, our job is to protect them. We don’t want that nowhere close to our district.”
Superintendent Cedrick Ellis is also concerned. He says although the bill gives schools the option to develop a safety plan, psychological screening and an annual shooting test for those carrying guns, it is still not enough.
“The emotional stability of those teachers, we don’t know how those teachers will react when they are placed in certain situations," said Superintendent Ellis. "So that is very troubling because we never know the mindset of an individual, even if an individual has been trained.”
I also reached out to The Madison County School District. Officials say their administrators have the responsibility to ensure a safe and secure educational environment, and we do not believe that arming teachers is the answer.
An amended version of HB 1083 passed the Senate Wednesday. It’s now in the house for further debate.
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