News staff writer
Stun guns have not been purchased for school resource officers, and it will be August at the earliest before the guns are in Birmingham schools, Police Chief Annetta Nunn said.
The guns were supposed to be in the schools this semester, which ends June 2.
Meanwhile, a state lawmaker said he will introduce a bill to permanently ban stun guns in all city schools.
Nunn said stun guns, or Taser guns, have not been ordered, and school resource officers have not been trained in using the guns.
State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said he hopes to get the bill passed by the fall if a special session of the Legislature occurs.
Rogers said his bill would address only Birmingham.
The bill states, "a person may not carry or possess a stun gun or Taser on the property of any school regardless of the time of day or the time of year." Violators could be fined $500.
"Anybody with some common sense ought to realize you shouldn't be tasing these kids," Rogers said. "The mayor thought about it for a long time before he supported using them in the schools, and I thought he wasn't going to do it, but when he did I realized somebody had to step in and put some sanity back into the school system. It's barbaric to think about doing it to those kids."
Mayor Bernard Kincaid initially opposed the use of the electronic devices but changed his mind after hearing from Superintendent Wayman Shiver and teachers, he said.
"It's amazing that John Rogers is not asking that police officers check their 9 mm at the door, which is much more deadly," Kincaid said. "The likelihood of a person's demise is much greater being shot with a 9 mm than being shot by a Taser."
Nunn and city and school officials have debated all year whether Taser guns are safe, and whether they're needed in the city's schools.
Shiver has said he'll take police officers "with what they bring."
On Thursday, he told city officials at a budget hearing that security was a growing concern in the schools.
"We probably need in every school some level of support from the police department because of the change in nature of our clientele," he said. "Our teachers are not in position to manage what needs to be managed."
Nunn said she attended a Department of Justice conference on electronic devices six weeks ago and came away convinced that stun guns can be used safely around students. Waiting until August to equip school resource officers gives the department time to review its Taser policy and train officers, Nunn said.
Rogers said he'll fight to keep the weapons out of the schools.
"The danger you have is you don't know the medical condition of those kids when you tase them," he said. "We outlawed the electric chair in the whole state and you're gonna put an electric stun gun on school kids. That's inhumane."
I've met John Rogers a few times and he is quite a character. He seems to be one of the few people in the Alabama Legislature with any common sense at all. Last year when Alabama outlawed sex toy sales John Rogers stood on the house floor and waved a large dildo around while stating his reasons why this law was utterly insane.