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Local News

GA educators: Put the brakes on more guns for teachers


by Shanteya Hudson

Georgia lawmakers are proposing a bill that would facilitate teachers carrying guns in schools.

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, and Republican Sens. Clint Dixon and Max Burns, introduced the Georgia School Safety Initiative that would provide state-funded firearms training and include a $10,000 stipend to teachers who choose to carry. It is an extra layer of protection they say would improve the safety and well-being of students, but some teachers don’t agree.

Lisa Morgan, a kindergarten teacher and president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said the proposal could make schools more dangerous.

“We do not enhance the safety of our children by introducing more weapons into the school setting. I think about what happens if the teacher is attacked and their weapon is taken away from them, and then other educators, other students are then harmed, ” Morgan said.

She added this is a community-wide problem and doesn’t believe gun violence can be solved in the school alone. Morgan suggests lawmakers should consider investing in resources like mental health services and social workers that can address issues comprehensively.

Backers of the initiative say it was modeled after Texas’s recent proposal to offer teachers $25,000 to complete mental health and firearms training to carry weapons on campus.

Morgan noted another side to this issue is that there are problems hiring and keeping teachers in their profession. She added that, based on feedback from educators, many feel burned out or express that their plate is overflowing.

“More responsibilities are added all the time, and nothing is ever taken away. And now we want to add the responsibility of being security and being armed,” she continued. “That is not how we retain our current educators and that’s certainly not how we recruit new educators to our profession.”

The proposed bill – which would allow teachers to opt out – is set to be introduced in the 2024 legislative session. House Bill 60, also known as the Guns Everywhere Bill, already allows school boards to decide who can carry concealed weapons on school property, but only three out of 180 districts have allowed it.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.