Southwest Virginia county becomes first to approve arming teachers

Lee County is first public school district in state to arm teachers

LEE COUNTY, Va. – Some teachers in Lee County, Virginia, will soon be coming to work with guns.

The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to arm some of its educators.

The board said this process has been a year in the making and has been met with majority support from teachers and parents.

"The only way to fight a gun, if somebody comes through these doors with a gun to shoot our students, is with another gun," said school board Chairman Michael Kidwell.

"At least it gives us a chance. If we sat there and do nothing, I can't sleep at night knowing that. But I'm going to feel at least we're trying to do something," said school board member Rob Hines.

While the board voted unanimously, not everyone supported the measure.

"The more guns that are out there, the more problems we are going to have," said educator Beth Davies.

But many Lee County teachers are willing to go face-to-face with a gunman if it means saving one of their students.

"Sooner or later, it could happen and, like some of the board members said, we need to be prepared in case it does," said Ronald Earley, a former Lee County teacher.

The board said teachers will be armed starting this fall.

Officials said there will be only a limited number of armed teachers and their names will not be publicly disclosed.

Officials also said those teachers will go through a strict application, screening and training process.