Any teacher carrying a firearm in school will meet certain standards, including continued training and certifications

A little over a year ago, a transgender school shooter stalked the halls of The Covenant School, a parochial school she once attended in Nashville, and killed three nine‑year‑old children and three adults before being shot and killed by two Nashville Police officers.

The shooter, Audrey Hale, was reportedly under a doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder” at the time and had an unhealthy obsession with remaining a child, according to classmates. The attack was well-planned, and it was the deadliest school shooting in the history of the state. In response, Tennessee lawmakers set in motion legislation that would allow teachers to protect classrooms by carrying firearms in schools. 

Tuesday, that legislation was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly. It now goes to the Governor’s desk for signing.

Putnam County Director of Schools Corby King says the Putnam County School Board and Sheriff’s Office need time to review the final legislation before making any moves.

“Over the past several years, the Putnam County School System and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office have worked closely together to place a trained School Resource Officer in every Putnam County school,” said King, in a statement. “We believe that professional law enforcement officers are the best resource in our community for protecting our students, faculty and staff.”

Any teacher carrying a firearm in school will meet certain standards, including background checks, permits, written authorization from school principal and law enforcement and 40 hours of handgun training, according to the legislation.

“The General Assembly passed a bill that authorizes faculty or staff members who meet specific standards to carry a concealed handgun on campus,” continued King. “At a minimum, those standards appear to be annual psychological examinations and rigorous post-certification firearms training.”

According to King, Putnam teachers won’t be carrying on campus anytime soon. 

“The Putnam County School Board and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office need time to review the final version of the legislation and determine the best path forward to maintain the safety of Putnam County Schools,” said King. “The two agencies will work together to develop a memorandum of understanding that continues to provide the best protection for our students, faculty and staff. Until such an agreement is formalized, faculty and staff members are not authorized to carry any type of firearm.”

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