Ga. school active shooter training bill passes, Kemp expected to sign into law

The active shooter training would require schools to conduct an intruder alert drill.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:17 PM EDT
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DOUGLAS, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia lawmakers are set to make active shooter training mandatory for all public schools. The bill passed both the state House and Senate and Governor Brian Kemp has already expressed his support.

The active shooter training would require schools to conduct an intruder alert drill every year before October. However, some parents and lawmakers are divided.

Some think one drill a year isn’t enough.

Douglas Police Chief Chris Elrod says he’s talking with his team to do at least two to be able to learn from mistakes and adjust.

“Maybe one first semester and one second semester. It goes back to practice, if we practice, we get better if we practice, we see issues we may have not seen had we not practiced,” Elrod said.

Proponents of the bill told WALB schools need to have a clear strategy so students will know where to go and where not to go in. But mainly how to protect themselves. But parents who don’t want their kids to go through it will likely be able to opt-out.

House Bill 147 will also give teachers the option for certification in gang violence reduction.

That certification for teachers is raising questions. How will teachers know how to recognize gang member qualities? Does this put teachers at a more harmful risk to themselves? State Senator Elana Parent says that part of the bill is risky.

“It could be a risk in terms of policing or bias towards certain characteristics of individuals. You know, someone may think someone would be the type would be in a gang. It could end up being another thing that makes kids feel profiled,” Parent said.

Some southwest Georgia school districts think this training will be beneficial for teachers. Law enforcement says that gangs recruit and target students as young as 10. So, school officials say training educators could help them with their jobs too.

“Sometimes our teachers, especially here, our teachers have asked us several times about doing gang training and learning if for no other reason to know the signs if a student is in a gang,” Elrod said.

Parent says she’s concerned about how realistic active shooter training will impact students’ emotional well-being since their mental health it’s a concern. Many others have also expressed concern.