NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Monday, Governor Bill Lee addressed the public and focused on school security and safety. The move comes after hundreds protested in front of the Tennessee Capitol as they demanded change.

The more than $200 million plan included placing school resource officers (SROs) in every school.

“We can all agree that there is a serious conversation needed about school safety. It must begin with the recognition that we cannot control evil, but we can do something,” said Lee. “I believe we need to have an armed guard, and armed security guard in every school in Tennessee.”

The decision comes exactly one week after the Covenant School shooting where six people died. Metro Nashville Police bodycam footage showed the alarms blaring and lights as they flashed. Shortly after the mass shooting, questions on what safety measures were in place began circulating.

In a 911 dispatch call, a staff member suggested others working inside, may have been carrying weapons.

Staff member: “We do have a school person or 2, I’m not sure […] that would be packing, whose job it is for security, but we don’t […] we don’t have security guards, but we have staff.”

However, it’s unclear if the armed person(s) were inside the building when Audrey Hale shot through the front door.

“For public schools to hire SROs and highly trained guards, with this funding, we are taking the burden off of teachers, schools, and districts. There is no excuse to not have a guard at every school,” said Lee, as he continued to lay out his plans.

The debate of SROs has long been discussed through Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), which has been against placing armed security inside elementary schools.

In a statement from an MNPS representative:

School safety remains at the top of mind for MNPS and school districts across the state. We are continuing to work closely with the Metro Nashville Police Department, which runs the SRO program for MNPS, to review our safety plans and protocols. 

We will be looking for more specific details on the governor’s announcement today and how it may impact Metro Schools. As a general rule, we do not comment on newly filed or pending legislation and will work with our government relations team to convey comments or concerns about legislation directly to lawmakers.

Sean Braisted, MNPS

Along with school resource officers, the governor is calling to expand Homeland Security to serve both public and private schools and double mental health resources.

However, shortly after Lee’s plans, Democrats came out saying, his plans aren’t enough to keep students safe.

“More police officers, locked doors, arming teachers, these are their solutions. We know that they are false solutions. The teachers are Covenant, the reports are coming out that some of them were armed, it didn’t stop what happened,” said State Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville).