Georgia school administrators would be able to use Mace, pepper spray, or stun guns to stop violent outbreaks at school, under a plan that state Superintendent Linda C. Schrenko is likely to propose during the 2000 legislative session.
"We're entertaining a lot of possibilities right now," said Gary Reese, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education.
But some believe the use of those or other weapons should be left up to the people already equipped to respond to violence: the police.
Jim Puckett, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, which represents principals and other administrators, noted that the law already allows armed police officers to be stationed in public schools and that most principals have a good rapport with their local police departments.
"Allow educators to deal with the education issues," Mr. Puckett said. "While we need to be very proactive in promoting school safety, we don't need to overreact."
Mr. Reese said that most of the calls the department has received from teachers and parents have supported Ms. Schrenko's idea.
Sealing the deal
U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson last month gave Gov. Gray Davis of California a $36 million check that will pay for cost-of-living adjustments for thousands of retired teachers.
The money comes from the 1996 sale of the federally owned Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve, which sat on property deeded to the state by the federal government when California joined the Union in 1850.
Proceeds from the land were intended to support public education. As the land's owner, California gets 9 percent of the $3.6 billion selling price of the reserve, or about $324 million over the next seven years.
The revenue will help pay for a monthly increase of about $120 for some 48,000 teachers who retired before 1982 and whose payments had slipped below the system's payment goals.
Previously, as lieutenant governor and a member of the state lands commission, Mr. Davis helped negotiate the 1996 deal.
--Linda Jacobson & Robert C. Johnston
Vol. 18, Issue 35, Page 19