Legislation to arm teachers set to hit AL House floor

Legislation to arm teachers set to hit AL House floor
File photo. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lawmakers in Alabama's House are set to debate a bill this week that would allow for the arming of teachers. The legislation would give authority to local school boards to decide if their teachers should be armed.

"I think there is a good chance we see that bill on the floor on Tuesday," House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-District 25, said.

The bill would require teachers to receive 40 hours of training a year before they could be armed in the classroom. Supporters like bill sponsor Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-District 27, say the bill can be a last line of defense in an active shooter situation.

The bill is popular with many rural Alabama lawmakers who may not have resource officers at schools in their districts.

"We know it's over a 100, maybe as many as 500, who do not have school resource officers," Ainsworth said.

Money also plays a role as there is no plan for the state to front the bill on hiring more resource officers.

"The specific answer is the money is not there," Rep. Allen Farley, R-District 15, said.

Legislators have been unable to provide how much it would cost to pay for a resource officer in every school.

"We are going to have to find some dollars," McCutcheon said. "If we are going to be serious about assessing our safety program in all of our school districts we are going to have to get serious about how do we pay for it. On the priority list, where does this fit? These are the things we are going to work on."

In other legislative news, lawmakers could also approve a more than $6 billion Education Budget this week. Some of that money could potentially be used to hire more resource officers.

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