A bill that would allow Nebraska teachers to carry concealed handguns in schools is one of the more controversial measures going before the Unicameral, which opens today.
Beatrice School Superintendent Pat Nauroth says he’d oppose arming teachers within school buildings.
“I think you’re asking teachers to take on one more responsibility and that would be of local law enforcement,” Nauroth says. “We’re not trained to do that and that isn’t our primary responsibility.”
Senator Mark Christensen of Imperial says his legislation would allow for a level of protection, especially for rural schools where law enforcement response times could be much longer than in cities. Nauroth disagrees and says it’s just a bad idea.
“The more weapons that are in a school by lawful means, it’s very easy to note, the more you have, the more something could get out of whack and somebody could end up with a gun that isn’t supposed to,” Nauroth says.
Senator Christensen tried unsuccessfully to get a similar bill passed three years ago, but failed.
Like many Nebraska school districts, Beatrice has for years placed a school resources officer — a uniformed police officer — in the middle and high school buildings.
“It really helps to build relationships between law enforcement and the general student population,” Nauroth says. “It comes in very handy if there’s an issue to have a local law enforcement officer just available.”
Nauroth says it’s a sad commentary lock-down procedures and electronic surveillance are needed at schools. He says the same goes for restricting entry to buildings during the school day.
Senator Christensen is among 17 incumbent lawmakers who are beginning their final year in office with the start of the 2014 session due to term limits.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice