Should Maine School Staff And Security Be Armed W/ Firearms?
Sadly, over the last few decades, we have seen the world get more and more dangerous. This is true even at our schools. And, not just in the country's major cities, either. In the last 20-ish years, we have heard about numerous tragedies occurring in our small town and rural schools.
While we have been shocked and saddened by the school shootings that have become an all too common occurrence at our nation's schools, thankfully, we have never had an incident at a Maine school.
About the closest we came to one of these tragic events was on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022. On that day, about a dozen Maine schools received hoax calls about an active shooter. Our school administrators and our local first responders did an amazing job jumping into action. They did everything they could to keep our kids safe from the perceived threat.
But, what if it were a real incident? How would it have played out? And, would they have been able to respond quick enough?
Because of questions like those, there are several bills being presented to the Maine legislature that would arm school staffers and school security guards.
According to WGME, Rep. Steven Foster (R-Dexter) has sponsored a bill entitled "An Act To Allow Certain School Employees To Carry Firearms On School Property" The bill would allow certain employees to carry a firearm on school property and, if needed, be able to discharge that firearm within 500 feet of the school.
If the bill went into law, it doesn't mean that every school employee can just start packing. Any employee who wanted to be able to carry on school grounds would have to have successfully completed certification and training prescribed by the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. The person would also need to be authorized by the school board to carry with the intention that they would enhance the security of the school.
There are two other bills in the works.
Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) has requested a bill with the working title, “An Act to Provide for Professional Armed Security in Schools.” It appears that bill would have the goal of putting armed security guards in Maine schools. Or, at the very least, empowering school boards to hire security for schools.
Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) is reportedly working on yet another bill.
The tragic incident in Uvalde taught us that every second counts. Because Maine is such a rural state, where the nearest law enforcement officer may be miles down the road, many of the proponents believe having armed staffers or armed security guards in a school could make all the difference during any kind of active shooter incident.