AUGUSTA — Republican lawmakers said it’s time to beef up security in Maine schools, either with armed security officers or by allowing teachers to be armed.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Steven Foster, R-Dexter, would allow a school employee who completes a certification to have a gun on school property. Saying “the time has come,” Foster said he began thinking about arming school staff after a school shooting in Florida in which 17 people were killed in 2018. Last year, a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a school in Texas.

Language on two other bills addressing school security has not been finalized.

The Maine Gun Safety Coalition believes it’s a bad idea for teachers to be armed, even if they completed certification and training approved by the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Republican lawmakers are emphasizing education during this legislative session. They’re also sponsoring proposals to create transparency in school curriculums and to create more school choice. Something also needs to be done about declining test scores, Sen. Jim Libby, R-Cumberland.

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