GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Republican lawmakers have a new plan to address school safety in North Carolina.
The School Security Act of 2018 would allow teachers to apply to become undercover School Resource Officers.
Participants would be required to undergo basic police training and would be sworn officers with guns in the classroom.
The position would also come with a 5 percent pay increase.
"The two problems that the bill tries to address is, one, we really don’t have enough money to put enough School Resource Officers into schools if we just pay them for a separate position," said Senator Warren Daniel (R-46). "And two, even if you had the funding, we wouldn't have enough applicants to fill those positions. It would provide a cost effective way to get School Resource Officers into the school."
Senator Warren Daniel is one of the bill's sponsors, along with Senator Ralph Hise and Senator Dan Bishop.
"Hopefully their skills and services would never be needed as a resource officer and they would be able to focus on their teaching 99.99 percent of the time. But there's just that small fraction of a possibility that something tragic could happen and that they would be ready," Senator Daniel explained.
But not all teachers are on board.
"Guns? Arming teachers? It's absurd," said Brittney Dennis, a 3rd grade teacher in Guilford County. "Do I put this on a supply list? I need colored pencils, bullets, markers. I just feel like guns have no place for the classroom."
Dennis says she already has enough on her plate as a teacher, without having to act as law enforcement too.
"My concern is if a teacher, for whatever reason, does not lock up the gun," Dennis said. "Now the gun is open to a student. Now a student, by accident, has the gun. Now we have an even more serious problem that could've been avoided."
Senator Daniel says he's heard from teachers on both sides of the issue. However, he's confident there would be many teachers ready to step in and volunteer.
Under the bill, school districts would decide whether teachers would carry their gun or keep it locked up.
The program would also require $9 million to cover the pay increase and training for up to 3,000 teachers.
Right now, there is no money set aside in the state's budget to pay for the proposal.