Lee County, Virginia schools are still planning to move forward with a plan to arm teachers and staff, despite concerns from state’s top government leaders.
Last month, Brian Moran, the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security voiced his concerns.
“There’s a question to whether or not the law is appropriate. The Attorney General’s office is looking into that. As a matter of policy, we are encouraging schools to use school resource officers, who are indeed trained law enforcement officers,” he said.
That followed a vote by the Lee County School Board to allow some teachers to be armed at school.
Superintendent of Lee County Schools, Brian Austin, said the school system believes it’s important to have teachers armed to help improve safety.
He said they currently have 4 school resource officers for 11 schools and arming teachers would cost less than hiring an additional SRO.
Austin said he believes the school system is well within their legal right to implement the policy despite concerns expressed by Governor Ralph Northam and and the state’s attorney general.
“Both the Governor and Attorney General’s office have spoken saying that they’ve got some concerns about the legality of this. We’ve spoken with a number of attorneys including our school board attorney and another attorney with whom we work and the legality of it has been verified by those individuals,” Austin said.
Austin said teachers who wish to carry a weapon will have to undergo a mental evaluation and complete training. He said teachers could be carrying firearms as soon as this month.