The Booenville School District may soon join the growing list of schools to have armed teachers.
New school district superintendent Trent Goff, in his first meeting in the role, told the Booneville School Board last week there appears to be a move afoot to have armed personnel on all campuses of all public education facilities.
“The goveror has created a school safety commission and the big thing seems to be they are recommending having armed personnel on every campus,” Goff siad.
To that end, Goff said, he expects to be in conversation with other school districts who currently arm teachers to discuss the procedure through which they began doing so.
At present, however, Goff said he “feels good” about where the school is with armed personnel — the board formally approved adding a second student resource officer to work three days per week or up to 1,000 hours during the 2018-2019 school year during Tuesday’s meeting.
The Booneville City Council approved adding a part-time officer for the position during its June 25 meeting. Brandon Sing will fill the role and will be paid by the city with the school district reimbursing the city.
Goff said it is his understanding that the Charleston School District trained 12 employees this summer, but he was unsure of how the selection process was established, but he was relatively sure Charleston officials used a model created by the Clarksville district, because Clarksville was the first in the area to arm teachers.
New Booneville Elementary School principal Jyme Beth Diffee said Clarksville officials previously visited the school and she understood there is no public revelation of who on campus is carrying a weapon.
“No one knows who is carrying but if you are one that carries, and there’s fire, you are to leave your kids and go toward the fire,” said Diffee. “you don’t sit back and wait for it, you are going to the fire. If you take on that position you are going into battle.”
While he said he had no stance on the idea yet, board member Dustin Garrett voiced concerns.
“It that situation, policemen are trained for that,” said Garrett. “How is the school going to handle if a kid gets shot. Police departments handle lawsuits all the time. We have a lot of avid hunters but …”
“As teachers, they will die for their kids,” board member Todd Tatum injected. “In that situation, (the students) are their kids and they’ll go into battle.”
Tatum’s wife, Melissa, is a Booneville School District teacher.
Asked by board president Eric Jones if the school is still utilizing U-bolts the board approved, administrators said yes, drills have been conducted when students are not in classes and the devices have held, though the teachers in the room have been shaken up by the attempts to enter the classrooms.