Democratic lawmakers in Augusta killed a series of GOP-backed measures aimed at promoting safe schools on Wednesday — the anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Maine’s Republican lawmakers brought four of their proposed school safety bills to Wednesday’s work session before the Education and Cultural Affairs committee.
Three of the proposed bills would allow certain teachers, security officers or staff with concealed carry permits to be armed on school grounds (LD 52, LD 518, LD 1557).
LD 1326 would require teachers to be trained on school design features implemented to defend against active shooters, and would hold teachers and staff criminally liable for keeping doors unlocked or allowing an authorized person into the school if that person injures someone.
The Committee also convened a last-minute work session on LD 317, a bill that proposes removing prohibitions on retired police officers carrying firearms when employed as security in schools.
The bill also requires the opening of school district stakeholder groups to investigate long-term school safety measures.
The four proposed bills in favor of arming teachers, staff or retired police officers in schools were all voted “ought not to pass” along party lines, while LD 1326 was voted “ought not to pass” by a 9-1 margin.
Democratic members of the Committee balked at the opportunity for Maine’s schools to adopt any of the proposed school safety bills, voting “ought not to pass” on all five pieces of legislation.
The rejection of GOP school safety measures came on the anniversary of the Uvalde school shooting, a heinous crime that was followed by controversy and debate over the adequacy of the law enforcement response.
After the Uvalde shooting, reports later revealed that law enforcement officers were reluctant to enter the building and engage the shooter after they arrived on the scene.
One mother who said she wanted to enter the school to save her child was detained by law enforcement and physically prevented from rescuing her daughter.
She later escaped custody, entered the school building before law enforcement had, and was able to successfully rescue her daughter.