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Nebraska Legislature Passes Law Allowing Teachers to Arm Themselves on Campus, Awaits Gov.’s Signature By Jeff Charles

Students in classroom. (Credit: Unsplash/Taylor Flowe)
Nebraska schools could soon allow staff members to be armed after the state legislature passed a law aimed at protecting students from potential mass shooters. The measure now awaits Republican Gov. Jim Pillen’s signature.

The legislation has met with mixed reactions from those concerned about the safety of schoolchildren.

The law does not apply to all of the state’s schools, but it does allow those located in rural areas with low populations to arm teachers and other members of school staff.

The provision that would allow such staff to carry firearms in schools and at school-related events originally included all districts across the Cornhusker State, but now applies only to those with under 5,000 residents after opposition from some areas of the state led lawmakers to compromise.

“It doesn’t apply to all the schools. This was designed for the rural schools where they didn’t have a resource officer or law enforcement wasn’t readily available,” state Sen. Tom Brewer, who introduced the measure, said, according to a local report.

The measure would enable schools to either hire security or elect a specific member of the school to carry a weapon.

“It can be anyone from the superintendent to the janitor,” Brewer continued, according to the report. Regardless of the choice, those who are armed must undergo training.

Some fear that, without the imminent presence of someone capable of confronting a school shooter in the event of an emergency, law enforcement could otherwise be 15 minutes – or further – away from these rural districts.

When the provision was being discussed earlier this year, members of the community on both sides of the issue made their opinions known.

Zach Kassebaum, superintendent of Lincoln Christian School, supported the proposal, which would require training and a policy for appropriate use of force. Kassebaum said the proposal could meet the needs of private or rural schools.

“Selecting individuals with the right aptitude, temperament and willingness to receive rigorous training — it’s not this picture of emotion that has been created of armed teachers in their classroom walking the hallways with a weapon on their hip,” Kassebaum said.

Pat Ritchie, a 36-year teacher in schools around the state, opposed the bill, which she said could be counterproductive.

“I believe that teachers with guns will be, no pun intended, a trigger for many students who come from violent home lives or neighborhoods. I believe that our young people who are not fully developed with their brains and their emotional responses are going to be tempted with pranks or theft of ammunition or guns,” Ritchie said.

Also testifying against it was Sharon O’Neal, a former Lincoln paraeducator, who listed alternatives for stopping school violence.

“Hardening school environments to prevent unauthorized entry. Ensuring adequate mental health services are available for students and for staff. Working with community partners to implement trauma-informed crisis intervention practices before a person commits an act of violence. Implementing early detection and response to behavioral red flags. And informing families — perhaps even mandating — proper secure storage of guns to prevent access by children,” O’Neal said.

___________________________________________ Sorry guys but based on my teaching experience. Most Teachers would be the last group that I would arm.

Now granted I am talking about Teachers out here in LaLa land. But most of us have neither the training, experience or the emotional strength to be bearing arms. Plus imagine the law suits that would occur for say accidental discharges, a student getting their hands on a gun at school. etc etc. All in all this is a really bad idea as opposed to say hiring say a retired cop. What do you think about this? Grumpy

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