NATIONAL NEWS

New Tennessee law allows police officers in private schools

Mar 31, 2023, 3:42 PM

FILE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State Address in the House Chamber, Feb. 6...

FILE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State Address in the House Chamber, Feb. 6, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Two years after Lee led the charge to allow residents 21 and older to carry handguns in public without a permit, younger adults could soon have the same privilege, with or without the governor's signoff. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Friday signed a law allowing private schools to contract with local law enforcement so they can hire school resource officers, days after a Nashville shooting at a private Christian school left six dead, including three children.

The Republican governor quietly approved the law without issuing a statement. A spokesperson for Lee did not immediately return a request seeking comment. The law goes into effect immediately.

Supporters said the bill was needed to clarify statutes that had kept private schools from working with local governments to hire school resource officers. The law now clears the path for them to do so, but does not make it a requirement.

Lee is expected to unveil his own proposals in response to The Covenant School shooting in the coming days. However, he has remained largely out of the public eye this week after announcing that his wife, Maria, was close friends with Katherine Koonce — who was among the six who were shot and killed Monday morning.

Republican leaders told reporters that Lee has been meeting with lawmakers this week to discuss possible legislation and budget proposals.

In a letter to Lee, Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally called for securing windows and glass in school buildings, adding magnetic locks on doors, modernizing camera systems, and increasing armed guards. McNally said later that he also is in favor of red flag laws like one in Florida, but also acknowledged that such a proposal may not clear the GOP-dominant Statehouse.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Cameron Sexton told reporters Thursday that he was willing to discuss any legislative option but held back from committing to pursuing any particular policy proposal.

Last year, Lee signed an executive order on school safety measures that directed the state to conduct a report on the use of armed guards in nonpublic schools and assess their need for active-shooter training.

Most U.S. school systems conduct active-shooter and lockdown trainings, and The Covenant School had in fact undergone active-shooter training in 2022, which prevented further loss of life during Monday’s shooting, city police spokesperson Brooke Reese said.

Around the U.S., private schools generally do not face as many requirements as public schools for developing security plans. In Tennessee, laws requiring schools to develop and submit safety plans do not apply to private schools, an emailed statement from the state Department of Education said.

National News

FILE - U.S. Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, speaks during a media br...

Associated Press

Nominations for National Guard leaders languish, triggering concerns as top officers retire

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top four officers of the National Guard Bureau have left or are set to retire in about two weeks, and to date no nominations for their replacements have been confirmed by the Senate, leaving the bureau, the Air Guard and the Army Guard without permanent leadership as they head into a […]

17 minutes ago

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice checks out the stage with his dog, "Babydog," before the Republican ...

Associated Press

West Virginia governor’s bulldog gets her own bobblehead after GOP convention appearance

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s English bulldog is getting her own bobblehead. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee announced plans Friday for a bobblehead doll for the 60-pound (27-kilogram) Babydog. It comes after her appearance on stage with the governor at the Republican National Convention in the […]

26 minutes ago

Associated Press

Rapper Sean Kingston and his mother indicted on federal charges in $1M fraud scheme

MIAMI (AP) — Rapper and singer Sean Kingston and his mother have been indicted in South Florida on federal charges of committing more than $1 million worth of fraud. Kingston, 34, and his mother, 61-year-old Janice Turner, made their first appearances Friday in federal court, according to court records. A Miami grand jury returned an […]

33 minutes ago

Associated Press

A voter ID initiative gets approval to appear on the November ballot in Nevada

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls has qualified for the November ballot in Nevada, the state’s top election official announced Friday. The measure also calls for an extra layer of identification verification for mail ballots, such as the last four digits of […]

36 minutes ago

FILE - Peter Green surveys the wreckage of an oceanfront home in Bay Head N.J. on Oct. 31, 2012, tw...

Associated Press

Superstorm Sandy group eyes ballots, insurance surcharges and oil fees to fund resiliency projects

LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — A 2% surcharge on property insurance policies, mandatory fees on the oil and gas industries, and holding a public referendum are ways a public-private group formed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy recommends to pay for projects to protect New Jersey from the next big storm. In a report released […]

47 minutes ago

FILE - Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, left, testifies during a House Committee on Homelan...

Associated Press

Montana attorney general didn’t violate campaign finance rules, elections enforcer says

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s elections enforcer said he found no evidence that the state’s attorney general violated campaign finance rules by inviting another Republican to run against him so he could raise more money for his reelection campaign. Sheila Hogan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, filed complaints against Attorney General Austin Knudsen […]

1 hour ago

New Tennessee law allows police officers in private schools