ATLANTA — Each school in Georgia would get money to fortify its security under a budget proposal at the state Capitol.
The $100 million program would look to make schools safer.
Critics say it overlooks a key ingredient: gun violence.
Over the last decade or more, schools across the state have upgraded security – locking exterior doors, using key cards and cameras to access them. State funds paid for some of that four years ago.
Now Gov. Brian Kemp wants to grant each public school in the state $50,000 to enhance its security.
"No child, parent or educator should have to worry about the safety of a school campus," Kemp told lawmakers Tuesday.
The leader of the state’s leading teacher organization said the proposal is welcome but also overlooks the essential security issue in schools.
"The violence that is happening in our schools is a symptom of violence that is happening in our communities," Lisa Morgan, a kindergarten teacher who is president of the Georgia Association of Educators said. "And while more funds for necessary upgrades is certainly necessary in our schools, we need to look at the underlying problem as well."
Democrats say part of the underlying problem is a saturation of firearms which, they say, is worsened by laws backed by the governor that have expanded the rights of legal gun owners.
"There are people who will tell you we should have liberalized gun laws and then treat our schools as fortresses. That’s not good public policy if you ask a lot of Democrats," Sen. Josh McLaurin (D-Sandy Springs) said.
Morgan predicts the state money won’t upgrade existing school security as much as it will replace existing technology with newer technology that basically does the same thing.