State of the State (copy)

Gov. Henry McMaster, right, smiles at Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant before delivering the state of the state in January. AP Photo/Sean Rayford 

COLUMBIA — In the wake of another deadly school mass shooting, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will hold a school safety summit this week, his office told The Post and Courier on Monday.

The summit, scheduled for Thursday at the University of South Carolina's Children's Law Center in Columbia, will include S.C. Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, State Law Enforcement Division Director Mark Keel, S.C. Sheriff's Association Director Jarrod Bruder and state mental health leaders.

McMaster proposed $5 million in the state budget to jump start adding law enforcement officers at every S.C. school. Less than half of Palmetto State schools have trained officers on campus, the governor's office said. The S.C. House budget-writing panel did not include McMaster's request in its $8 billion spending proposal sent to the floor this month.

"Too often we have seen crime and violence find their way into our classrooms," McMaster said in his State of the State address in January, nearly a month before 17 students and educators were shot and killed in Florida. "A safe learning environment can be enhanced by the presence of a certified, trained police officer as a shield against disruption and tragedy."

McMaster also wants to train teachers, counselors and coaches to recognize potentially violent behavior from students and set up rules for police to handle threats, his office said. 

The summit will not be a debate on gun control, McMaster's office said. Calls to ban or limit sales of assault-style weapons, like the AR-15 used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, should be handled by Congress. 

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McMaster, a Columbia Republican running for full term in office this year, has said he would sign bills proposed in the General Assembly that would allow teachers to bring concealed weapons to school and allow South Carolinians to carry weapons without a permit.

South Carolina has dealt with its own recent devastating school shooting. First-grader Jacob Hall was killed, and two other students and a teacher were shot by a gunman at an elementary school in Townville in 2016. A judge ruled this month that Jesse Osborne, who was 14 when he was charged with shootings, will be tried as an adult.  

Seanna Adcox contributed to this story.

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Andy Shain runs The Post and Courier's team based in South Carolina's capital city. He was editor of Free Times and has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.

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