Gov. Haslam’s school safety task force meets for first time


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Haslam says “he would have no problem calling a special session” on school security.

His words come as the 16-member school security working group he assembled held its first meeting today with more meetings scheduled each Thursday for the next two weeks.

“We are on a somewhat quick time frame because the legislature is here for several more weeks and if we come up with anything that could mean a bill passed or affect the budget, I want to be able to do that in time,” added the governor who plan to be in each of the sessions. “I will be honest with you. If this extends on and the legislature adjourns, I  will have no problem calling a special session to come back to deal with this if we need to. I would like not to, but I think its important enough that we would.”

House Republican Caucus Chair Ryan Williams, who is one of four GOP lawmakers on Governor Bill Haslam’s school security working group, says “a lot of the discussion is how do we find money for SRO’s (Student Resource Officers) because I think there is a desire to do that.”

Another member, Senator Paul Bailey hopes to be a voice for the Cumberland Plateau

“Rural schools are a little different than urban districts,” he told News 2. “So I want to make sure that the voice I bring is representing those rural school districts.

One of the lawmakers on the governor’s group is a former longtime educator who knows schools were not always built for security.

“I know the high school where I was principal has seven entrances…so we would really like some money to help with the improvement,” Rep. Byrd told News 2.

All three lawmakers on the group hope mental health issues are addressed by group as well,

Any funding proposals could include money for more mental health professionals in the schools.

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