State lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday to fund school resource officers and counselors. Senate Bill 1519 went through some changes ahead of the 17-13 vote.

One version called for $11 million for school resource officers, but an amendment by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Steve Smith, knocked down that total to $5.5 million.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona schools in crisis]

The bill was opposed by some Senate Democrats who had concerns that cops on campus could lead to unfair punishments for minority children.

"The SROs need effective training and we need to look at the sensitivity of kids of color, too," Sen. Catherine Miranda explained. "[W]e have a lot of work to building the trust with law enforcement."

“What would you say to teachers and parents and students if somebody still walked on a campus with a firearm wishing to do harm," Sen. Steve Smith said on the Senate floor. "How do you stop that threat if you're opposed to SROs on campus?"

Smith also fired back at critics who argued the bill didn’t include enough funds for counselors.

"What if it's not a student, Mr. Chairman, who showed up on your campus and just a crazy person? All the counseling in the world wouldn't have helped that person," said Smith.

Miranda met with demonstrators with the March For Our Lives movement ahead of the vote. Students called for a significant increase in school counselors.

“One counselor’s not going to do it; two counselors might not even do it,” student Jordan Harb, one of the most vocal organizers of the local March For Our Lives movement, said.

[RELATED: March for Our Lives Arizona draws in 15,000 in front of Capitol]

SB 1519 includes a total of $9 million for school counselors. Democrats on the floor said it's not enough.

The bill now heads to the House for a vote.

[RELATED: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey rolls out school safety package]

[RELATED: Students to AZ Gov. Ducey: School safety plan does not do enough]Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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