Emily Fang, Jim Burris, Cop County discussed on All Things Considered


Might be. Emily fang and pure news zapper is Ukraine. This is 90.1 WBE. I'm Jim burris. Some employees are the cop county schools, may soon be able to carry guns on the job. The school board voted four to two last night to let certain personnel carry firearms, but that would not include teachers. Employees would have to be authorized by the district to carry, and they'd also be required to undergo firearms training. Education reporter Martha Dalton joins us now to break down what was a surprise vote. Martha, welcome. Thanks, Janet. It's good to be here. And I mentioned it's a surprise vote. Talk about that. Right. Well, this comes just a few weeks after Cobb county superintendent. Chris rexdale said publicly that he was not in favor of arming teachers in the aftermath of the Yuval shooting in Texas. Now, this policy we should be clear, this policy does not include teachers, but it would essentially let the district hire citizens to act as police officers. The district would train them and would put them through background checks and things like that. But I do think it was a surprise to a lot of folks because it was put on the agenda a few days before the meeting. It wasn't clear if the board would vote on it and they did. So there wasn't a lot of time for discussion and public feedback. But I do think some people were surprised at how quickly the new policy was approved. What was the reason they gave for this shift, this new policy? Well, superintendent ragsdale said is because it's so hard to hire law enforcement officers. And so here's what ragsdale said at the board meeting on Thursday. Quite honestly, if the board gave me a blank check and said go hard school resource officer for every single school in Cobb county, I could not do that. There he talks about how hard it is to find people who are qualified. Now, essentially what the district would do with this new policy is hire people and train them as police officers, although they wouldn't be certified officers. You mentioned it was a surprise vote, but what's the response been after that vote was taken? Well, there were some gun control activists at the board meeting from groups like March for our lives and moms demand action who protested as the board tried to vote. And the protests got so loud that the board had to take a brief recess, then they tried again, but the opponents did not stay silent

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