The Lee County, Virginia School Board has approved a measure allowing teachers to carry guns at county schools.
Board members voted unanimously in support of the measure.
“The only way to fight a gun if somebody comes through these doors with a gun to shoot our students, is with another gun,” says Michael Kidwell, Lee County School Board Chairman.
Lee County is the first in Virginia to allow teachers to have guns in schools. The board confirmed tonight that teachers will be armed starting this fall, as soon as October.
The board says the process has been a year in the making and has been met with majority support from teachers and parents, who want to be prepared in the event of a mass shooting.
“At least it gives us a chance. If we sat there and did nothing, I couldn’t sleep at night. At least we’re trying to do something,” says school board member Rob Hines.
The vote tonight left some against the decision with lingering questions.
“The more guns that are out there, the more problems we are going to have,” says Beth Davies, a lifelong educator who is against the arming of teachers.
The board argues that this is the most financially viable option for keeping kids safe, as the district cannot afford School Resource Officers and metal detectors in every school.
Many Lee County teachers have already volunteered to be considered for the role of being armed at their school. One former teacher tells News Channel 11 that most teachers would be willing to go face-to-face with a gunman if it meant saving one of their students.
“Sooner or later, it could happen. And like some of the board members said tonight, we need to be prepared if it does,” says Ronald Earley, former Lee County schools teacher and principal.
Superintendent Brian Austin says there will be a limited number of armed teachers in the 11 schools in Lee County schools and their names will not be disclosed. Those teachers will go through a strict application, screening and training process before being allowed to carry on campus.
The guns and training will be paid for by the school district.