(CBS) — A bill in North Carolina’s state legislature would give teachers a 5 percent pay raise if they receive the same training as police officers and carry guns at school. The leader of a teachers group said the proposal was “a disaster waiting to happen.”
Republican state Sen. Warren Daniel, one of the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 192, which was filed this week, told CBS affiliate WNCN-TV that the proposal wasn’t just about arming teachers. “We’re arming a law enforcement officer who is also a teacher or a teacher who is also a law enforcement officer,” he told the station.
Teachers who sign up for the program would be required to complete basic law enforcement training and become sworn law enforcement officers, known under the bill as “teacher resource officers.” In return, a maximum of 3,000 teachers would receive a 5 percent raise.
School boards across the state would have to decide whether to participate in the program. The state would pay just under $4.8 million to train the teachers.
The North Carolina Association of Educators told WNCN-TV teachers shouldn’t have to carry a weapon to get a raise and that the state should focus instead on adding more counselors, social workers and other support staff to schools. “Arming teachers is something we’re adamantly opposed to and a disaster waiting to happen,” Mark Jewell, the group’s president, told the station.
Jewell also raised the possibility of someone getting their hands on an armed teacher’s weapon. Daniel told WNCN-TV that that problem could happen with police officers already assigned to schools.
“I don’t see that this is any different,” he told the station.