A Michigan school board has made a controversial decision: the Kalamazoo Public School Board of Education voted unanimously to ban all firearms from “school-affiliated property.” The vote applies to after-school functions and prohibits students, staff and visitors from carrying a firearm, even if they possess a concealed carry permit. The only exception to the role are law enforcement officers.
If someone is caught in possession of a firearm on school property, they will be reported to local law enforcement. Back in December, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined school districts are well within their rights to create their own firearms policies.
Activism groups including Coalition for Common Ground, Progressive Kalamazoo and Moms Demand Action brought its members out in full force Thursday to support the board’s decision. The board received nine letters in support of the weapon-free policy and elicited almost a dozen speakers during the meeting’s public comment period.
“It’s horrible to have to be in a public school situation where you’re trying to keep your kids safe and teach them things and have to figure out who the good guys are and the bad guys are,” said Michele Richards, a member of the coordinating committee of Progressive Kalamazoo. “The people who should be having weapons in their hand defending us are police and the military. Period.”
“For me it boils down to fact that it is unreasonable burden for teachers of any school to ascertain the intentions and motivations of anyone coming onto school grounds with a gun,” Scott Markham said. “If they chose wrong, that is not a decision anyone could live with. Thank you for taking it out of their hands and let teachers be teachers.”
According to local news reports, nearly a dozen people spoke in favor of the ban and no one opposed it.
Trustees also said they had not heard from a single gun advocate defending the idea of guns in schools.