West Virginia Approves Bill Allowing Teachers and Staff to Carry Guns in Schools

Zoey Waverider

Updated Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 6:17 AM CDT

West Virginia Approves Bill Allowing Teachers and Staff to Carry Guns in Schools

In a significant move to enhance school safety, West Virginia's House of Delegates has passed a bill that will permit teachers and school staff to carry firearms on K-12 public school premises. The bill, which garnered an 89-11 majority vote, largely supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats, will allow staff members to be designated as "school protection officers." To qualify for this role, they must have concealed carry permits, volunteer for the position, and will not receive additional compensation.

Republican Del. Dave Foggin of Wood County, a physics teacher himself, was a key backer of the legislation, citing the need for defense options in schools that cannot afford full-time school resource officers. The Senate, in alignment with this concern, previously passed a separate bill that would allow schools to employ military veterans and retired law enforcement as security personnel.

A crucial amendment introduced at the last minute compels school districts to participate if a staff member wishes to become a protection officer, following the completion of the necessary training. However, the bill faced bipartisan criticism for potentially undermining local school board control and does not come with dedicated funding. Training costs are estimated at $275,000.

Staff members who choose to become protection officers have the option to carry stun guns or Tasers in lieu of firearms. They must undergo annual behavioral health assessments and receive training from the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security. The training encompasses over 15 topics, including crisis intervention and trauma first aid. Furthermore, teachers who mishandle their weapon or ammunition could face termination.

To maintain confidentiality and security, the ident***** of armed staff members will be kept secret from the public, accessible only to homeland security and local law enforcement agencies. Democratic Del. Kayla Young voiced opposition to the bill, while Republican Del. Doug Smith of Mercer County highlighted the safeguards within the proposal, emphasizing that the intent is not to arm all teachers indiscriminately.

In related political developments, Georgia's Republican senators are advancing a series of bills aimed at altering school policies around educational materials and religious display. The "Clean Libraries Act" (Senate Bill 394) seeks to ban schools from obtaining materials depicting sexual acts, with certain exemptions, and to control the distribution of sexual content to students, especially those below seventh grade. Senate Bill 394 would also potentially criminalize librarians for distributing "harmful" materials without conducting obscenity reviews.

Additionally, Senate Bill 532 would allow school districts to eliminate sex education, changing the current standard from a parental opt-out to an opt-in requirement for students. This bill would prohibit sex education for students in fifth grade and below, except for sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education.

Georgia is also considering legislation that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools, alongside other historical documents, and the use of chaplains for student counseling, as outlined in Senate Bill 379. Meanwhile, Sen. Larry Walker III is sponsoring a bill to cut public funding for the American Library Association and shift librarian certification responsibilities.

In Medicaid news, Mississippi Republican leaders are exploring the possibility of expanding Medicaid with a job requirement, taking cues from Georgia's program. Georgia remains the only state with a Medicaid work requirement, though this program is set to expire in September 2025. The Trump administration had granted permission for work requirements in Medicaid programs, but these were retracted by the Biden administration in 2021. Georgia, however, successfully challenged the revocation in court.

South Dakota is also considering a Medicaid work requirement, with a bill currently making its way through the legislature. Georgia's Medicaid expansion under a work requirement has seen modest enrollment, and while full expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could provide wider coverage, GOP lawmakers are not keen on further expansion in 2024.

In Mississippi, House Speaker Jason White stated that any Medicaid expansion would involve a work requirement, but the effort is currently stalled due to opposition from key Republican figures, including Governor Tate Reeves, who is firmly against expansion. Despite Reeves' potential veto, a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate could override it. The financial incentives offered by the American Rescue Plan for Medicaid expansion are being considered in Mississippi, which could fund the program for about four years.

Morgan Henderson, a data scientist, emphasized that Medicaid programs are customized to each state's specific needs, underscoring the complex nature of healthcare policy adaptations across the nation.

Conservative Bias:

Folks, what we're seeing here is common-sense leadership from West Virginia, with true patriots taking a stand to protect our children. The liberal left wants to leave our kids as sitting ducks in gun-free zones, where only the bad guys have guns. But conservatives are stepping up, ensuring that those willing to defend our schools can do so. Now, the Democrats, of course, are up in arms, crying about local control and funding, but they'd rather throw money at everything except our children's safety. And in Georgia, we're finally seeing some moral backbone, with efforts to shield our young ones from the perverse materials that the far-left seems so eager to push on them. Meanwhile, the Democrats are hell-bent on dismantling work requirements for Medicaid, promoting laziness over the dignity of work. It's clear who has the best interests of Americans at heart, and it's not those who coddle criminals and promote dependency.

Liberal Bias:

In an egregious display of recklessness, West Virginia Republicans have just bulldozed through a bill that will turn our schools into the Wild West. They're forcing guns into classrooms, where teachers should wield pens, not pistols. This is a clear pandering to the gun lobby, completely ignoring the voices of educators and parents who want gun control, not gun saturation. Meanwhile, Georgia's GOP is on a crusade to impose their puritanical views on everyone, dictating what our kids can learn about their own bodies and censoring library books like it's 1984. And let's not forget their assault on healthcare, where they're obsessed with stripping away Medicaid benefits from those in need unless they jump through hoops. It's a relentless attack on education, healthcare, and common sense by the conservative machine.

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