Tishomingo legislator wants schools to be able to arm teachers

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Rep. Lester “Bubba” Carpenter, R-Burnsville, is working on legislation for the 2013 session that would allow school districts to arm their teachers.
“We are working with a NRA (National Rifle Association) lobbyist trying to craft something,” said Carpenter, who said he is filing the legislation in response to the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people were killed.
“Texas and some other states are working on this,” he said.
As he envisions the legislation, Carpenter said school districts that wanted to participate could provide training, certification and arm members of their staff.
“We do not want it to cost the teachers anything,” Carpenter said.
Various avenues from arming teachers to placing law officers in the schools to limiting the access to certain types of guns are being discussed in wake of the shooting and other similar events in recent years.
Carpenter said for many school districts in Mississippi it will be cost prohibitive to place law enforcement in every school.
In Tishomingo County, Superintendent Ben McClung agreed that many school districts could not afford to pay for a law enforcement officer, but he said that is the goal in his district.
He said the district already has resource officers, who are certified law enforcement officers, in the two high schools – Belmont and Tishomingo.
“We are working to put them in all of the rest of the schools,” he said. “We are running into expenses there.”
Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, said having armed teachers could create problems and dangers for the teachers and the students.
“Teachers already have enough to do without being charged with providing police protection,” he said.
Today, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will announce his support of school safety legislation. It was not clear late Thursday what that legislation would entail.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com