(The Center Square) – The Cobb County School Board approved a policy that allows some school employees, but not teachers, to carry guns at school.
Proponents say the policy will keep students safe and help deter the likelihood of a school shooter. Opponents said the measure would not make students safer.
Under the policy, the district superintendent can authorize certain school employees to carry guns on school property, on school buses and at school events.
“Quite simply, this policy gives us other opportunities to enhance and increase the number of school resource officers,” Cobb County Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
“Teachers are not going to be armed,” Ragsdale said, according to WSB Radio. “It is very important, obviously, for us to exhaust every possible option for keeping our staff and students safe.”
However, Mike Tafelski, senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said the policy does not address “the root causes of the nation’s gun violence epidemic.” Instead, Cobb County school board members signed off on “a policy that would expose students and teachers to more gun violence.”
“These school board members routinely enact school policies that are ineffective for the stated goals,” Tafelski said in a statement. “To be clear, more guns, more police, and more punishment do not make schools safer. The new policy is not rooted in data, community input, or evidence-based solutions.”
Guns and the Second Amendment have been a hot-button issue in Georgia and nationwide following a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In May, Georgia officials said they were working to create Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams throughout the state as part of a broader school safety effort.
In a Friday tweet, Gov. Brian Kemp said the Georgia Public Safety Training Center “will train 400 School Resource Officers as we further invest millions of dollars in school safety measures across the state. We’re working with partners on every level to ensure our students, educators, & classrooms are safe.”
Separately, Georgia Democrats have called on Kemp to convene a special legislative session so lawmakers can revisit the state’s gun laws.