Mass shootings have become much more frequent in the United States over the last decade, and a disproportionate number of them have occurred in schools. In 2018, teachers have found themselves acting as human shields to spare their students’ lives. This horrific state of affairs has not prompted New Hampshire’s Republican-dominated legislature to tighten the state’s extremely lax gun laws. It has, however, spurred legislators to pass HB 1415—providing “a death benefit for a school employee killed in the line of duty.”
The bill, which lawmakers sent to Gov. Chris Sununu for his signature on Wednesday, was drafted in response to the surge in mass shootings throughout the country. Democratic Rep. Kristina Schultz, who strongly supported the measure, explained that she was concerned about “active shooter incidents like Sandy Hook Elementary or Columbine,” as well as non-fatal physical aggression by students.
“Our educators and school employees are there to protect New Hampshire children in our schools in the event that New Hampshire does have to face such a horrific event like a school shooting or other act of violence,” Schultz said. “We need to have the same line of duty benefit for them to show that we honor and respect their service, that they might put themselves in harm’s way to save our children.”
HB 1415 provides $100,000 to the family of any public school employee in New Hampshire who is killed “while in the performance of his or her duties as a result of violence by another.” The bill received bipartisan support, though most Republicans opposed it in the House of Representatives, while Democrats overwhelmingly favored the measure. Lawmakers attached a $10 million appropriation to the bill “to improve security in public schools.” Sununu is expected to sign it.