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Bill to send $10 mil to Education Department for active threat response program

leo biasiucci
Arizona House Republican Caucus
Leo Biasiucci represents District 5 in the Arizona House.

On Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee advanced a bill that would establish an active threat response program within the Arizona Department of Education.

The measure would appropriate $10 million from the state general fund to ADE for the program.

Bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Leo Biasiucci, said it's been misinterpreted as putting guns in the hands of teachers.

“Yes you could have an option for a teacher to understand how a gun works and how it’s handled," he said. "But, nothing is saying that teachers are gonna be having guns in schools with this bill. All this is doing is saying, if there’s an active shooter situation, why wouldn’t our staff know how to react?”

Instead, schools can choose what’s best for them and opt into that part of the program, whether it’s training on first aid, firearm safety or identifying a threat.

Democratic Sen. Christine Marsh said she doesn’t see a need for the program because schools already offer similar training each year. She recalled lessons she got from a school resource officer.

“He talks about like if there’s a kid bleeding on the ground or a staff member, but they know the active shooter is in the next quarter, they are jumping over the injured person," she said. "I mean, they go through all of this.”

Any funds the schools don’t use would revert back to the general fund. Republicans advanced the bill on a party-line vote. 

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.