DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Mississippi is a step closer to arming school employees. The House just passed a bill to let local school boards decide if teachers and other employees can carry concealed weapons.
If it passes, the law would let each school board decide what happens in their county. They'd get to decide which and how many school employees can carry concealed weapons.
Peggy Patterson supports the bill. "I've thought about it, I want my children protected. Of course it's grandchildren now, but I want them protected by all means."
House Bill 958 would give school boards the power to decide if employees, like teachers and principals, could carry concealed weapons.
Carl Stanford also thinks it's a good idea. "We're going to have to have some kind of either guards or people, probably that would be the cheapest way to go, because you wouldn't have to hire other employees."
Still, not everyone agrees with the proposal.
"I don't think they should, not in school," stated Sharon Hill. "It's dangerous. Kids could get a hold of guns. That's about the only reason."
The bill passed without any limits on how many employees could be armed. It would require strict safety training and for employees to have a conceal carry permit.
"They would have to definitely take the safety classes and a background check," Patterson said, "After the Sandy Hook thing we need a way of protecting our children in there. I'm all for it."
"I don't [agree] because you're saying to the kids, it's okay. But it's not okay. What if a child gets angry and brings one," countered Deloris Billingsley. "The thing they go through scanning for guns and scanning if they have a weapon on them, or somebody standing at the door and checking purses to see if they have anything, I think that's more safe than to allow teachers and principals to carry guns."
The House is still debating this issue. It will go to the Senate next and then must be signed by the governor before it becomes law, so there are still several steps to go.
As for DeSoto County, Superintendent Milton Kuykendall was out of town but a district spokesperson said DeSoto County Schools is going to wait and see if the bill passes and what version passes, before they make any public comments on their stance.