South Carolina Pushes to Arm Teachers After Tragic School Shooting

After a deranged teenager murdered his mother to acquire her guns, and then carried out a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, (CT), lawmakers in the northeast rushed through a raft of legislation to restrict the rights of gun owners, but took few steps to actually increase the physical security of their students.

Students in Connecticut, Maryland, and New York, are no safer after the Sandy Hook massacre than they were before it.

After a deranged teenager murdered his father to acquire his guns and carried out a shooting at Townville Elementary School in Townville (SC), a lawmaker is putting for a new bill that may actually give faculty, staff, and students a fighting chance.

After a 14-year-old shot and killed a six-year-old student on the grounds of an elementary school, a South Carolina lawmaker is drafting legislation that would allow teachers to take up arms.

Republican State Rep. Joshua Putnam is putting forth the new bill to let teachers volunteer to carry weapons.

“It would incorporate mostly live shooter scenarios. So then teachers are familiar with how to approach that gunman on campus, how to interact with getting children away from… danger situations and how to confront that until law enforcement arrives,” said Putnam.

Putnam’s goal with the new legislation is to prevent any future school shootings throughout South Carolina. If it takes effect, it would make the state one of more than a dozen to allow teachers to carry on school grounds.

Rock Hill, S.C. teacher Judy O’Neal says having teachers carry is one way to keep children safe.

“I’m very comfortable with guns and I think there are people who can handle a gun in a school situation,” O’Neal said.


Other teachers, of course, are against taking the personal responsibility of safeguarding their student’s lives. They mouth empty platitudes such as, “I’d die for my kids,” but when push comes to shove, they lack the moral fiber to live and fight for then.

They’d instead like to push that responsibility on someone else, such as armed school resource officers (SROs), but the simple fact of the matter is that most small rural schools like Townville Elementary doesn’t have any SROs, and can’t afford them. Rep. Putnam says it would cost South Carolina $83 million to train and staff resource officers at every school. It would cost far less than that to train teachers under the proposed program.

“The state law enforcement division would have to develop materials and a training class that would be offered free of charge… It would be similar to a [concealed weapons permit] test and training, but it would incorporate mostly live shooter scenarios.”

Teachers would volunteer and be approved by the principal and the school district. Once the teachers completed training and got certified by the State Law Enforcement Division, they would be allowed to carry a concealed weapon on their person at all times. They also would receive a stipend to help cover any wages lost during training.

“We know it would require more training, maybe going to the shooting range to make sure they are proficient on their marksmanship. So, we are OK with doing a stipend every single month to compensate for that time.”

I’m encouraged by the fact that Putnam knows the value of force-on-force scenario role-playing to train teachers, a model that has already been incorporated in school districts in other states, such as Missouri.

The training course for Missouri’s teachers is similar to what Rep. Putnam is proposing, where teachers put in roughly ten times as much range time than NYPD officers do before they take the streets, with the added benefit that the training is hyper-focused on stopping an active shooter in a school shooting environment.

Put bluntly, if Rep. Putnam’s final bill is on par with what Missouri and other states have mandated, their teachers may be better trained than a school resource officer to handle this particular kind of threat.