MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee announced an investment of $230 million to strengthen safety at public and private schools across Tennessee.
“Nothing is more important than Tennessee students and teachers returning home from school safely each day,” Lee said in a press release. Since 2019, he and the Tennessee General Assembly have prioritized investments in school safety.
This year, their goal has been to “fund an armed [School Resource Officer] for every public school, enhance mental health support and boost physical security at public and private schools across Tennessee.”
The $230 million will be divided as follows, according to Lee:
$30 million for more than 100 Homeland Security agents across all 95 counties to serve Tennesseans and students in both public and non-public schools
$140 million for one full-time, armed School Resource Officer (SRO) for every public school
$40 million for public school security upgrades
$14 million for private school security upgrades
$8 million for additional School-Based Behavioral Health Liaisons across the state
Aside from funding, there will also be enhanced school safety legislation, requiring school officials to be trained and equipment o be prepped for dangerous situations. Lee says the following will be required:
Ensure exterior doors are to be locked while students are present
Private security guards must receive active shooter training before being posted at schools
Every school district must establish threat assessment teams to ensure students are connected to support services when appropriate
Every public and private school must develop annual safety plans
The law comes after six people, including three children, were shot and killed at Covenant School in Nashville in March.