RALEIGH, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A new bill filed in North Carolina would offer a pay incentive to teachers who choose train and become a school resource officer and carry a gun.
FOX 46 spoke with a teacher who says he used to carry a firearm as a state trooper.
“I was a trooper in Kentucky 20 year ago. We went through extensive training. I think our academy was 23 to 24 weeks long," said Jim Means, a social studies teacher at North Mecklenburg High School.
Means says he's been with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for 18 years.
When it comes to arming teachers, Means says, "There's a lot of negative things that go along with this. The unintentional shooting of a student during a confrontation with a shooter, accidental discharges.”
The new bill would allow teachers to become trained law enforcement officers, according to Senator Dan Bishop who co-sponsored the bill.
"They'd receive an issued weapon just like any other law enforcement officer. This is not somebody who had a concealed carry course and has some basic understanding of a weapon. That's not the case at all. These candidates would be – by their selection and only if a school system wants to avail itself of this opportunity – be full-fledged law enforcement officers," said Senator Bishop.
He says it would be one more line of defense against an active shooter.
"You have any number of service veterans, perhaps former law enforcement officers, that are certified teachers teaching in schools today. Those select few who run toward danger instead of away from it. It gives those folks the opportunity for those folks to receive a high level of training and be prepared as a law enforcement officer would be," said Bishop.
FOX 46 asked Means if he – as former law enforcement – would choose to go through the training and carry a firearm at school.
"I personally don't think I would. Simply because it would place a tremendous amount of pressure on you in a situation at school. And I would do anything I could do to protect my school and protect my students," he said.
We also reached out to CMS Board of Education Chairperson Mary McCray if she's in favor of the new bill.
She wrote back in an email, "No I do not support this. A teacher's role has been expanded to the point that their actual job now takes a backseat when it comes to educating our students."
If passed, Senator Bishop says the bill would fund up to 3,000 teachers across the state to become so called "teacher resource officers" and pay them five percent more then they're making right now.