Upstate school district, sheriff announce proposal to arm school - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate school district, sheriff announce proposal to arm school employees

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Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw (Feb. 23, 2017/FOX Carolina) Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw (Feb. 23, 2017/FOX Carolina)
OCONEE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A new proposal could allow Oconee County school employees to carry concealed weapons inside their schools.

"We're trying to think what can we do to improve the opportunity for lives to be saved," Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said.

Sheriff Crenshaw presented the ASAP plan to the School District of Oconee County Board of Trustees on Monday night. If passed, Crenshaw explained, the plan would arm as many as 50 school employees across the county.

“The first priority for us is to look at those school personnel that aren’t assigned to students,” Crenshaw said.

According to Sheriff Crenshaw, their initial plan does not include teachers, but school employees that do not have students, like principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors and athletic directors.

“This is not an arming teachers program," Crenshaw said, "This is a very select process that we will identify certain people within a school and provide them the exact same training that a deputy sheriff in Oconee County gets."

Crenshaw said participation in the ASAP program would be voluntary and participants would have to undergo a psychological evaluation, complete 60 hours of firearm training with the sheriffs office, and participate in continued training each year.

The sheriff's office said this is a step toward safer schools, but not everyone agrees.

“Why aren’t there more deputies or more resource officers?" Nancy King said, "There are lots of different ideas that can be done versus arming teachers and principals.”

Sheriff Crenshaw said another armed person, in addition to the assigned school resource officer is the best option for saving lives in an active shooter situation, because they usually happen quick, and are often over by the time law enforcement arrives.

"If you go back and look at previous school shootings, they usually end within 5 or 6 minutes, or shortly after law enforcement arrives on scene," Crenshaw said.

The school board will vote on whether to move forward with a decision.  According to Crenshaw, if passed, the plan could go into effect as early as August 2018 with the start of the new school year.

Voting will take place as early as May 21.

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