Maricopa County Attorney not against arming teachers, suggests other safety priorities

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is not against the idea of arming teachers, but he says it should not be the go-to solution for preventing school shootings.

Montgomery offered suggestions for creating safer campuses Friday after reminding students they can face serious consequences for making threats on schools. Arizona’s Family has learned of a dozen threats investigated this week involving Valley schools.

“You can be ordered to repay the costs for whatever the responding agency is and however much it cost to investigate what it is that you called in falsely,” says Montgomery. 

Montgomery says juvenile suspects will typically not face jail time, but offenders who are 18-years-old may spend time behind bars.

“You may miss your prom because you’re doing three weeks in jail,” says Montgomery.

Montgomery advocates two approaches to preventing school shootings: treating troubled teens and boosting officer presence. His office sponsors a program called Speak Up Stand Up Save a Life, which was created after a 2016 murder-suicide incident at Independence High School in Glendale.

“The program is designed to give teens the tools to overcome whatever reticence or hesitancy they might have about intervening in a friend’s life who's being bullied and may be depressed,” says Montgomery.  “And it’s that kind of background, kind of profile if you will, that we've seen with school shootings involving current or former students.”

Montgomery says the first conference drew hundreds of students, educators, and law enforcement officers. The last one attracted thousands.

Montgomery also says school resource officers are essential and has a unique idea for boosting officer presence at campuses.

“Outfit schools with locations for officers or sheriff's deputies to stop at when they need to write reports or check in with supervisors,” says Montgomery.  “So that there's also a visible presence out in front of the school.”

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