Nashville students stage school walkout to protest bill allowing teachers to carry guns in classrooms one year after trans school shooting

SB 1325 was passed by the state Senate last week.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

On Monday, hundreds of students across Nashville walked out of school to protest a bill recently passed by the Tennessee state Senate that would permit teachers and staff in public schools to carry concealed firearms in their classrooms.

This comes one year after a school shooting was carried out by a trans-identified female, 28-year-old Audrey Hale. The shooting at the Covenant School took the lives of 3 children and 3 adults. Hale was killed by police responding to the scene.

As high-schoolers made their way to the Capitol, they held signs and called on lawmakers to ditch SB 1325. 

According to the Tennessean, one Hume-Fogg High School student said she believed politicians were living in a "fantasy" if they believed arming educators was the solution to saving lives. Teachers would have to pass a rigorous background check and complete a 40-hour school policing training program under the bill.

"We don't want ... somebody coming into our school and some teacher hero with a gun to solve that issue," the student said.

Her sentiments were shared by others in attendance, many of whose signs sported slogans such as "Guns are the problem, not the solution."

It wasn't only students who spoke at the rally; parents, activists, and even a state representative all shared their concerns.

One parent read a letter from a Covenant School teacher who was with her students when Hale entered the premises and opened fire, killing three children and three adults before being shot dead by police.

"As I reflect on this time, I simply cannot imagine how I could have pulled out a gun with 10 children under foot and in my arms," she wrote. "I think of all the terrible things that could have gone wrong had I had a gun. My job that day, in the face of such terror, was not to take down a killer, who was carrying multiple firearms – including a military-style assault rifle. My job was to move my students to safety, secure the area, keep them calm so they would not cry or make a loud noise."

SB 1325 was passed by the state Senate on Friday. The House equivalent, HB 1202, passed the Senate and is set to be heard by representatives on Wednesday.

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