Superintendent: Armed teachers open to debate in Rutherford County

Superintendent: Armed teachers open to debate in Rutherford County (Image 1)

Arming teachers is “open to debate” the superintendent of one of Tennessee's biggest and fast growing school systems said on Wednesday.
“Now that debate has been opened, it's time to think about it in more detail,” Rutherford County Superintendent Don Odom told Nashville's News 2 after a roundtable put together by radio host Ralph Bristol.

Among the top county leaders there was local state representative Joe Carr.

Carr plans on pushing a Capitol Hill bill that gives local Tennessee districts the option of allowing educators to have weapons in school.  

“We have got to address the fears of the parents in the community both at the state and local level that their kids are safe,” Carr said during and after the roundtable at Murfreesboro's Riverdale High School.

Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold said he wants a say on educators carrying guns.

“Local law enforcement has to be the ones to sign off to make sure they are properly trained,” stressed the county's top law enforcement officer.

However, Governor Bill Haslam is not so sure about arming teachers, saying his daughter who is a second grade teacher would not want it, but he didn't close the door on giving locals the option.

“If that local municipality, that local school board says we want to do that, that's very different from us saying here is what you have to do that,” he told reporters Wednesday afternoon at the state capitol.

There is also a move in Rutherford County to increase student resource police officers in some of the schools.

High schools in the county currently have two armed officers, middle schools one and elementary schools share a limited number of the officers.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the goal now says the Superintendent Odom is to have an armed SRO in every Rutherford County school.

He wasn't getting any argument for the Sheriff Arnold who believes “there would have been a whole lot less casualties if there had been an SRO in that [Connecticut] school.”

The sheriff indicated that Rutherford County Commissioners will soon be looking at the additional resource officers for each elementary school.

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