Tennessee Works For SAFER SCHOOLS

Apr 07, 2023 at 09:07 am by WGNS

(NASHVILLE)  Tennessee's legislators announced today that in a bi-partisan effort, they moved forward to approve funding to bring armed guards to schools in the Volunteer State.

On Friday (4/7/2023),  a week after the tragic shooting at Nashville's Covenant School, Governor Bill Lee, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, Speaker Cameron Sexton and legislative leadership announced additional actions to strengthen safety at public and private schools across Tennessee. These measures include enhanced legislation and funding to place an armed security guard at every Tennessee public school, boost physical school security at public and private schools, and provide additional mental health resources for Tennesseans. 


Gov. Lee explained . . .

“There is nothing more important than our students safely returning home each day,” said Gov. Lee. “As Tennessee grieves the tragic loss of six precious lives in the Covenant shooting, we are taking additional actions to significantly boost safety measures at every school with highly-trained guards, physical security enhancements and mental health resources. 

Enhanced School Safety Legislation (HB322/SB274)

·       Enacts a multi-tiered accountability plan to ensure exterior school doors are locked while students are present, with opportunities for corrective action. State and local law enforcement will be authorized to check for unlocked doors

·       Requires that private security guards are held to a high standard and receive active shooter training prior to being posted at Tennessee schools

·       Requires every school district to establish threat assessment teams, a nationally recognized best practice to ensure students are connected to support services and behavioral health professionals, when appropriate

·       Requires every public and private school to develop annual safety plans, which must include a newly required incident command drill for school leaders and law enforcement to prepare for what to expect in various emergencies 

FY23-24 Budget Proposal

·       $30 million to expand a statewide homeland security network with 122 agents serving students at both public and private schools

·       $140 million to establish a School Resource Officer (SRO) grant fund to place a trained, armed security guard at every public school

·       $20 million for public school security upgrades

·       $7 million for private school security upgrades

·       $8 million for additional school-based behavioral health liaisons across the state

“The tragedy at Covenant school underscores that evil takes the path of least resistance and preys on society’s most vulnerable. No child, parent, teacher or school employee should ever fear for their safety,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth. “I am thankful to Gov. Lee and my Republican colleagues for their continued commitment and investment in our schools. These are aggressive and necessary steps that will ensure Tennessee’s schools are the safest, most secure in the nation.”

The governor concluded . . .