Teachers Allowed to Carry Guns at Colorado School

Education, News, Safety

The new safety plan of a school in Colorado allows faculty and staff to carry concealed firearms on school grounds. Administrators are hoping that by having trained, armed adults at school, students will be safer in the event of a shooting or similar crisis.

Rural Colorado School 20 Minutes Away From Nearest Police

Briggsdale School is located in a rural area of Colorado approximately 90 miles outside of Denver. In the event of emergency, it would take police about 20 minutes to arrive on the scene. That fact, and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT last year where 20 children and six adults were slain, prompted the school to reconsider its safety policies.

Superintendent Rick Mondt said he believed the plan would be improve security for students. He also said that fewer than a quarter of the teachers plan to carry a handgun at school. Mondt worked as an administrator in the county where the Columbine High School shooting took place in 1999.

Another Colorado school made a similar decision earlier in the year. Dove Creek, a small school in a different rural area of Colorado, and the school district voted to allow two administrators to carry handguns in school. State law allows only peace and security officers to carry weapons on school grounds, so the administrators were made “Security Officers” for a $1 annual salary each. They now have the right to carry a gun in the school so small it can’t afford a full-time security officer.

Many States Already Allow Guns On School Property

It’s not just Colorado – states and municipalities all over the nation have been looking into revising policies on teachers and firearms in schools after Sandy Hook. In December of last year, a town in Texas voted to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons. In March, South Dakota became the first state to sign into law a bill specifically allowing school employees to carry firearms at school.

In January, NBC reported that eighteen states already allow adults to carry guns on school property. In most cases, they need written permission from the school board or the principal.

NRA and Teachers Unions Disagree

Supporting the idea of guns in schools is the National Rifle Association (NRA). In response to the Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA called for armed guards in every school. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Opposing the idea are two large teachers unions and many parents. Head of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten called the NRA’s proposal “irresponsible and dangerous” and said the NRA was “not serious about confronting the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.”

Ultimately, every party is concerned for the safety of the children. Districts and states that do allow faculty and staff to carry firearms in schools require training on handling firearms beyond the state-determined requirements for obtaining a concealed weapons permit. Briggsdale will require “high-level weapon and medical training before allowing faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons on school property, including proof that they shoot 100 rounds every month at a range, completion of tactical medical training, and participation in refresher training twice a year.