Harwell orders ‘active shooter’ training for House staff

House Speaker Beth Harwell has directed House staffers to attend mandatory classes on how to survive an “active shooter” incident and how not to commit sexual harassment, reports the Times Free Press.

The active-shooter training comes as legislative workers prepare to settle into their new Cordell Hull Building home, where handgun-carry permit holders will be allowed to go armed.

…Kara Owen, spokeswoman for the Republican speaker, said Monday the Tennessee Highway Patrol offered to conduct the sudden-violence class.

“It is comprehensive in nature and is unrelated to allowing state-licensed carry permit holders to carry in Cordell Hull,” Owen said.

She said “in light of recent incidents,” outside Tennessee, “Speaker Harwell wants staff to be prepared. She does feel that Cordell Hull will be very secure.”

The state Senate has no plans to implement similar in-person training. Adam Kleinheider, spokesman for Senate Speaker Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said an existing online class is sufficient.

“It is a House-only initiative,” Kleinheider said in an email. “Joint staff and Senate staff are not included. During the last year, all legislative employees have had the Office of Homeland Security’s on-line, on-demand training opportunity ‘Sudden Violence — Surviving an Active Shooter’ made available to them.”

“The Senate is confident our employees are safe and secure in Cordell Hull,” Kleinheider added.

Harwell also has told House staffers she invited the YWCA to lead sexual harassment training, which also is already being done online.

“This is mandatory for House staff,” Harwell said in the email.

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