A bill to allow bulletproof backpacks on school campuses passed a Senate committee. West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth says it’s unfortunate that steps are needing to be taken to protect school students, but he would rather take preventative action, than rely on school resource officers and other law enforcement.
"There's just not one sure fire way to protect our kids. I would think we would of thought the officer in Florida would have been there to protect our kids and he didn't do his job."
Walsworth says parents and their children are rightly concerned for their safety. He says it’s up to legislators to do their part to make sure measures are in place, such as allowing bulletproof backpacks.
"What a sad role this is, for them to feel comfortable sometimes in our schools they got to know that there's something their mom or dad did for them to make them feel safe."
Opponents on the bill spoke out, including East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney Dadrius Lanus representing school students. He says the bill does not make common sense and it will put out the wrong message.
"When you look at the demographics of a parish like East Baton Rouge, where you have 70-percent of those students are African-American. What does this say to them?"
Walsworth says the bill would only allow the bulletproof backpacks, but would not require students to have one. Lanus says since the bill if it’s not enforceable, the debate is a moot point.
"Even if you don't mandate it, what sense would it make to implement something and is not mandated anyway? How does that benefit certain areas?"
The bill will now head to the Senate floor.