Lawmakers rethinking zero tolerance weapons policy in schools

Lawmakers rethinking zero tolerance weapons policy in Ga. schools

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When kids bring weapons to school, bad things can happen.  The state of Georgia has issued a Zero Tolerance Weapons Policy to prevent those types of tragedies, but some lawmakers are looking into legalizing knives on school property in places like cars or glove compartments.

Currently, if any student brings what is considered to a be a weapon to school, they are suspended, arrested, and could face criminal charges.  But Sgt. Jesse Hambrick, who supervises school resource officers in Douglas County, says the issue isn't always so black and white.

"We've had those situations where a kid did bring something to school and realized they had it and then turned it over," he explained, adding that at other times, students may not have known they had a weapon at all.

Situations like those are what Rep. Micah Gravely of Douglas County wants the law to account for.  He is working to rewrite Georgia's Zero Tolerance Law into something he calls a Common Sense Law.

"What we want to do is be able to give the local school boards, the local superintendents the ability to make a judgment call," Gravely said.  "If this is a student we've never had any problems with, a good student…. We don't want that to hinder them or adversely affect them because of something that mistakenly happened."

There are opponents, many in school administration, who feel putting discretion in the law can be dangerous, but a growing number of legislators feel common sense just makes good sense.

The Zero Tolerance Policy still stands, but legislators plan on taking a look at the law and proposing changes.  A vote on those revisions could come early next year.

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