Congressmen Mostly Quiet, TN Cost Estimated
Nooga.com asked U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, as well as U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Chuck Fleischman, whether they agreed with the NRA’s call for armed guards in all schools. All have taken campaign contributions from the NRA. (Full story HERE.)
Corker and DesJarlais didn’t respond .Fleischmann’s response didn’t address the question. Alexander did, sort of. Excerpts:
Asked to comment on LaPierre’s remarks Friday, Fleischmann, who boasted his NRA endorsement in television advertisements for his most recent campaign, voiced neither support nor disagreement.
“As a father, the events in Connecticut break my heart,” Fleischmann said in an emailed statement. “Children are our greatest treasure, and we need to ensure their safety, particularly in a school environment. No student should ever have to be afraid of going to school. Brenda and I send our prayers to the victims and their families.”
Fleischmann accepted $2,000 in NRA contributions this year.
…On Friday, Alexander indicated that congressional action would not be able to ensure student safety, as LaPierre suggested. The senator added his hope that school systems at the local level would be reviewing their current safety measures in the wake of the shooting.
“Washington can’t make school safe, but parents, communities and teachers can,” Alexander said in an emailed statement. “In light of the tragedy at Newtown, I would think every local school board would be thinking about whether they need to take additional steps to make their schools safe from guns and other acts of violence.”
Were the gun lobby’s call to gain traction, Congress would be tasked with providing funding for at least one armed guard in each of the nation’s 98,817 public schools–1,803 of which are in Tennessee.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the annual mean wage for a security guard at elementary and secondary schools is $31,420, making a rough estimate of the cost of equipping schools with armed guards more than $3 billion nationally–and more than $56 million statewide.
Haslam Thoughts on Video
TNReport has a video of Gov. Bill Haslam’s comments on the subject (previous post HERE), wherein he voices misgivings. “I know a whole lot of teachers who wouldn’t want to be armed,” he said – including his daughter, a 2nd grade teacher. But he thinks there should be a discussion of causes of “mass violence” in schools and elsewhere.
Cookeville Police Chief: Two Officers in Every School, Every Day
Each morning this week, Cookeville Police officers have driven through the parking lots at all city schools, hoping to help students, teachers, and parents feel a little bit safe, reports the Herald-Citizen..
And Police Chief Bob Terry is talking about a giant leap in school security here, an idea that he knows would cost taxpayers quite a chunk of money, but would be worth it if the horror that happened in Connecticut ever occurred here.
He would like to see two trained police officers assigned to work in each school in this county every day.
“The county has only one School Resource officer in each of the three high schools, but in today’s world, I would like to see much more security in all our schools,” Chief Terry said.
“I know it would cost us, and I am a taxpayer too. But just think about this: you can’t walk into courthouses carrying a gun, you can’t walk into a police station carrying a gun unless you are an officer, you can’t walk into many places without going through several kinds of security measures. But anyone can just walk into our schools.”
Officers to Patrol Unicoi Schools
ERWIN, Tenn. (AP) — A sheriff and a police chief in East Tennessee say they are working together to ensure all county schools will have a trained officer when classes resume in January.
The Johnson City Press reports (http://bit.ly/TL9ons ) that Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley and Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson made the announcement Friday, saying they wanted to assure student safety after the massacre on Dec. 14 at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
The initiative expands the number of officers assigned to schools — there was already one each at the middle and high schools.
Tilson’s office will provide officers to schools in the city; Hensley’s office will provide them at others.
Both said the extra officers would be present at least through the end of the school year, and longer if funding allows.
The Talk in Tullahoma
Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee says city officials will be looking into whether having a police officer assigned to each city school may be feasible, according to the Tullahoma News.
“I think it is something to be considered,” he said Wednesday. “Every time a tragedy like this takes place someplace else, we definitely don’t want anything like that to occur in Tullahoma.”
…Although the idea to add six more officers — mirroring officer Joe Brown’s duties at Tullahoma High School — is easily said, it’s not easily funded.
The salaries and benefits related to adding six officers could cost more than $300,000, and where the money would come from would have to be determined, Curlee said.