NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When a fire alarm go off in schools, students and staff evacuate their classrooms immediately to go to a safe place. One lawmaker says immediate evacuation may not be the safest action in the event of a school shooter.
Representative William Lamberth is sponsoring a bill that would require schools to come up with new training and procedures for fire alarms. Lawmakers say it would give teachers time to assess what is happening and potentially save lives.
The bill was first introduced shortly after the Covenant School shooting. It passed the House in the special session, but didn’t make it through the Senate, so now it’s up again in this session. Officials say fire alarms went off during the shooting due to the haze from the gun shots.
Lamberth says when those students left their classrooms, they were put in harms way. One parent, Erin Kinney spoke on her child’s experience during the shooting.
“My child was the line leader that day. He was fulfilling his duty to lead his class to safety from a possible fire. And within seconds of the building being breached, his class encountered the shooter and he and his two classmates were lying dead or dying.”
Those in support of the bill say no child has died in a school fire in decades, but children continue to be shot and killed in schools. Lamberth says had the students or teachers known there was a shooter in the building they would not have attempted to evacuate.
Lawmakers behind this bill say new procedures are critical. The bill goes up for a vote in the House on Thursday.