An Iowa school district approved a measure allowing some staff members to carry firearms on campus.
“No one wants guns in school, but we want bad guys with a gun even less,” Cherokee Schools Superintendent Kim Lingenfelter said, according to KCRG. “And the board has taken a very measured and serious approach to the challenge of keeping students safe and staff.”
Cherokee is the second school district in the state to pass a measure allowing some teachers and other staff to carry firearms following the devastating mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students and two teachers dead. The Spirit Lake School Board in the state voted in August to allow 10 staff members to carry firearms.
The decision for Cherokee was made on Monday during a school board meeting, KCRG reported. Lingenfelter said discussions on allowing some staff to carry guns at schools began in July in conjunction with local law enforcement, a school resource officer and the chief of police.
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Parents and teachers spoke at the meeting about whether to change the district’s policy. The school board said a poll was taken ahead of the discussion and found 32 people were in favor of changing the policy to allow armed staff, and 11 people opposed the change.
“I just think of the difference it could have made at Sandy Hook, or in Texas,” one parent who was in favor of the change said, according to Siouxland News.
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“I think they should be afforded that safety that government and politicians have,” another man, Larry Pigott, grandfather of 11 kids in the school district, said. “I feel that is a necessity due to the times that we are living in.”
Others, including the choir director at the district and a school nurse, spoke out against allowing staff to arm themselves.
The policy for the district after the change now reads: “Weapons under the control of law enforcement officials and staff approved by an administrative team are exempt” from any ban on weapons on campus.
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The district will soon approve a list of teachers who want to carry guns on school property. The staff members will be required to attend monthly training sessions in order to continue carrying a firearm on school premises.
Other school districts in the nation have recently moved to also allow teachers to arm themselves in order to protect against a potential shooting. The Ohio legislature passed a bill over the summer, for example, allowing teachers and other staff to carry firearms with less training time than previously required.
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Another school district in North Carolina announced plans over the summer to add AR-15s to safes placed in schools to beef up security in the event of a tragedy.