Colo. district votes to arm teachers

The school board in a rural school district in Colorado voted 3-2 today to allow teachers with training and concealed-carry permits to carry guns on their person while they’re on campus, the Associated Press reports.

In support of the decision, proponents said they hope to reduce the threat to students that an active shooter from the neighborhood would bring, as well as to protect students and school staff from violence they say might happen, given that they believe local marijuana grower may be affiliated with drug cartels.

“I don’t care if any of the staff ever pick up a gun,” the Gazette in Colorado Springs quoted board member Michael Lawson as saying. “The fact that you have a ‘No guns’ sign at your front door is an invitation. If this resolution passes, we can put up a sign, ‘Some staff at this school may be armed.’ To me, that’s a deterrent.”

These advocates also point out that, because of the location of the district’s two schools about 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs, it would typically take about 20 minutes for law enforcement officials to arrive.

Opponents of the resolution, including board President Mark McPherson, a retired Army officer, say they worry that training won’t be sufficient to protect students and staff at the school.

“Our rooms are supposed to be locked and secure,” the AP quoted him as saying. “We have cameras. We have a very vigilant staff. We are authorizing teachers to pull a weapon and kill a human being, and I cannot support that.”

Right now, District 28, based in Hanover, Colorado, shares one armed school resource officer with a few other districts. It will cost the district an estimated $3,000 to train each volunteer teacher, and superintendents in several districts think that makes more financial sense than paying for a private security firm for the school. The schools will also purchase the guns and ammunition for those teachers.

The training takes an initial 46 hours, including live fire training. Teachers who are packing will then have to be retrained and re-evaluated annually, including a psychological exam.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.