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School board meets about possibly arming staff in Oconee Co.

OCONEE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) - School board members in Oconee County met Monday night to discuss a plan that would allow certain school staff members to carry guns.

As many as 50 school employees, with the proper training, could be armed if it were to pass.

The meeting on Monday was an open discussion, as the superintendent started off by outlining how arming teaching staff could be done safely.

Parents who took the floor, however, had a few concerns.

A look into how to stop a school shooting has been a national discussion, and in Oconee County it's no exception.

"I hate that the world has come to this today, but it's something that we must address," Jerry Lee, Oconee County School board vice chairman, said. 

The Armed School Alliance Program has gained support from the county's superintendent and from the sheriff.

"That trained employee could possibly save lives by accessing that weapon," Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said. 

Accoring to Crenshaw, arming up to 50 trained staff members would allow the school to potentially help in an active shooter situation until law enforcement was able to get there.

In Oconee County, response times to schools is between 6 to 8 minutes.

"That's our thought: What can we do that's going to save lives in those 6 to 8 minutes?"

A few parents were at the meeting Monday, arguing that putting more guns in schools isn't the answer.

"Let's not back ourselves up against the wall, come up with what is a fear-based approach and simply go with that," one parent said.

"I don't think that arming personnel, regardless of their training, is necessarily the answer."

Both the school and the sheriff said they're open to ideas and are looking to further this discussion.

"We'll continue to get feedback from our local school board, from our local school district and most importantly from the citizens and parents of children in Oconee County."

Members of the school board said they'll likely take a vote on this sometime within the next two months.

If the school board does decide to pass the plan, it could go into effect as early as this fall during the next school year.

 

 


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