When the Illinois Association of School Boards meets for its annual conference next month, the group will consider a resolution in support of armed school staff. The motion wouldn’t require districts adopt an armed school staff policy, but would endorse allowing districts to do so voluntarily.
Among the resolutions surrounding firearm use, one calls for the IASB to support legislation that would give local school boards the option to develop Student Safety and Protection Plans. These plans would authorize “voluntary district employees, in any capacity” to carry a concealed firearm as long as they have obtained the necessary licenses, certifications and training.
Another resolution involves the IASB advocating for school safety grant programs at the state level, which would assist school districts in hiring school resource officers with past law enforcement experience. These SROs would then be authorized to carry a firearm, given that they continue firearm training, according to the proposal.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. Laura Carno, a visiting fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum and the founder of FASTER Colorado, a firearms training program for teachers and school staff, joins me to talk about the growing number of states and school districts that are adopting these programs. We also discuss some of the common concerns expressed by critics, like this Illinois mom.
Allison Longenbaugh, a mother of three children who attend Naperville North High School, told The Chicago Tribune on Oct. 8 that she was not comfortable with the resolutions.
“The state shouldn’t expose kids unnecessarily to any tools of violence,” she told The Tribune. “Adding guns into the circulation will always put kids at risk, and the state should universally adopt the position to not arm school district employees.”
Another common argument Carno hears is “What if a teacher and a student argue over a bad grade, and the teacher pulls out a gun and shoots the kid?” She addresses that in our interview as well, noting that teachers aren’t regularly punching kids in arguments over bad grades, so why should we assume they’d become more violent and unhinged after going through firearms training? In fact, these teachers who undergo the FASTER training learn de-escalation techniques and go through de-escalation scenarios. It’s not just about teaching teachers how to shoot, it’s about teaching them how to stop an attack, hopefully before a shot is ever fired. It’s a fascinating topic and a great discussion, so be sure to catch the whole thing.
Also on today’s program we have the story of a Cocoa, Florida woman who defended herself after shots were fired at her in a convenience store parking lot, a Tennessee man who has a bad habit of getting arrested for crimes while out on bond for previous crimes, and an Ohio police officer who didn’t figure out why the chicken crossed the road, but did help it get home safely after it got loose on an interstate median.
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