Tuesday, January 8 2013 10:13 AM EST2013-01-08 15:13:51 GMT
It was back to school Monday for thousands of students in Middle Tennessee, and in districts throughout the area, safety was top on the mind for parents and administrators.More >>
It was back to school Monday for thousands of students in Middle Tennessee, and in districts throughout the area safety was top on the mind for parents and administrators.More >>
GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -
The issue of school safety has more districts pitching plans to add armed officers to schools.
"I think school security is our No. 1 focus," said Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold.
Arnold spoke about providing more officers at Rutherford County schools during a news conference Tuesday.
The cost to place a school resource officer in every school will be about $1.2 million, said officials, and the county will have a finance meeting later this week to discuss the issue further.
The Sumner County school board said Tuesday evening it wants to increase its SRO force by 38.
Currently, only seven Sumner County schools have resource officers, but the school board discussed adding 38 more to make sure every school is protected.
It's part of a $5 million plan that would also improve security at its facilities.
"It's not going to be inexpensive. There's no doubt about it," said Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt. "It looks like the first-year commitment - because of the training, the equipment - the added expense is going to be roughly $90,000 per SRO."
But soon, the conversation may evolve as state lawmakers could discuss a bill to allow teachers to carry guns.
Some have concerns over how the program would be set up.
"It's up to the school system. I'd leave it there," Arnold said. "But I ask for one thing: we make it a voluntary program and, also, we do the training."
County commissioners will have to find the budget money for both Sumner's and Rutherford's plans, and that, right now, could be tough.
A leading teachers group, the Professional Educators of Tennessee, came out neither for nor against the plan to allow teachers to carry guns in school.
It said the decision should be local, and in a statement, the group's president said:
"We believe that large urban districts are likely to oppose, while rural areas will likely support. One size fits all will not work. The subject is very emotional, with good arguments coming from all sides."
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