Burt Jones revealed his plan in a speech in Winder Wednesday, saying it will be a legislative priority of his next year.
“One of the most critical duties we have as public servants is to protect those who are most vulnerable – including all of Georgia’s children,” Jones said during a speech at Austin Road Elementary School. “This legislation and associated state funding will ensure that our school systems and teachers have the necessary resources and training to increase safety across Georgia. Systems and individuals will have the option of participating in the training, certification and stipend, and we hope that the General Assembly will support these efforts to build on recent school safety reforms.”
He’s proposing $10,000 a year for each participating teacher.
The proposed legislation, to be introduced during the 2024 Legislative Session, would build on the reforms the General Assembly has made in recent years around safety training for teachers, school safety plans, and the ability of local school systems to determine for themselves whether teachers should be permitted to carry firearms as a safety measure on campus, Jones added. The program would be an opt-in measure by the teachers and school system – meaning it wouldn’t be mandatory for either teachers or school systems..
Lisa Morgan, the president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said her group “categorically” opposes anyone besides certified officers carrying guns in schools. The AJC reports she suggested Jones instead write legislation to hire more counselors.
But Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith seemed sympathetic to the idea, saying armed teachers could be a “force multiplier” in case of a shooting.
Former President Donald Trump, who backed Jones during last year’s elections, has endorsed the idea.