The bill stipulates “if a local board of education has not entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a law enforcement agency to assign a school resource officer at each school within the local board of education’s control, then a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction may assign at least one (1) law enforcement officer to serve as a school resource officer at the school.”
Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) filed the bill. “There were some law enforcement agencies that had reached out to me and let me know that there was a problem with the bill that tied their hands when it comes to public safety.”
Then last week, school superintendent Dr. Adrienne Battle ultimately said they would have a plan for SROs in elementary schools after resisting armed officers in elementary schools for years.
“Now we know there’s a shortage,” Cepicky said. “But you know what, let’s try because right now, Metro Nashville, if you want to talk about Metro Nashville, we have elementary schools that don’t have SROs in them which makes them a target for what we are coming to special session for in a couple of days.”
Democrats blasted the bill, saying it’s ironic the party that generally favors ‘small government’ is pushing it.
“They’ve given up the title of party of small government a long time ago because they interfere in everybody’s parts of life, whether it’s the bedroom, the bathroom, your libraries and everything in between,” Rep. Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville) said. “This is business as usual for them.”
Cepicky pushed back on that notion, saying local law enforcement still has control here.
“I don’t think we’ve mandated anything in the bill,” he said. “The superintendent doesn’t swear an oath to public safety. The chief of police does.”
Still, Dixie argued though it fits the scope of the call, lawmakers should be focused on more serious changes around gun control.
“I don’t think there’s anything that has been introduced that’s about gun control,” he said. “It’s about punishment and control, but not gun control.”