WASHINGTON – In a Virginia school district closer to Kentucky than the U.S. Capitol, teachers are now preparing to return to their classrooms, armed, in September.
The move comes after a unanimous vote by the Lee County School Board, one that spurred mild panic among Democratic elected officials that a precedent could be set for school districts across Virginia.
“We just recently found out about this scheme and we’re looking into it,” said Charlotte P.L. Gomer, a spokeswoman for Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring.
“Virginia law clearly prohibits guns in schools with only a few narrow exceptions, and there are good reasons for that.”
The district hopes to train teachers and staff before the new school year, with local circuit court judges designating the employees “conservators of the peace.”
The special status is how school board members hoped to circumvent Virginia law, which makes it abundantly clear only law enforcement officials are permitted to carry weapons on public school property.
The Virginia Attorney General’s Office is now in the process of assessing how to respond to the school district’s move. No other district within the Commonwealth has expressed plans to arm teachers.