A central Missouri school district is a little safer this school year, with select teachers and staff now carrying firearms to serve as a first line of defense in case of an attacker in the schools. High Point (how appropriate) Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Findley says the district made the best decision for safety of the students.
“With our location, we don’t have security coverage from law enforcement without it being about a 15-minute wait,” Findley said.
Findley said 15 minutes was too long to wait so the board, with the support of the community, took the protection of their students into their own hands.
“We interviewed particular teachers that were interested then we put them through a psychological evaluation and then they were chosen and they did the training in southern Missouri,” Findley said.
The idea seems to have a lot of support in the community, with several parents telling local television station KRCG that they’re glad there’s an extra layer of protection in the schools. Will Wright has two kids in the school system, and doesn’t see an issue.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit community here. We care about each other and we care about our kids,” Wright said. “I have full confidence in the staff here and the board’s decision.”
Nicole Hallford is another parent with kids in the school system, and she’s also on board.
“We’re a small community and honestly you don’t ever want to think like something like this could ever happen in a small community but it’s better to be proactive and aware of any situation and just think about the what if’s instead of worrying about what we could have done,” Hallford said.
When I bring up stories like this on social media, I usually get some pushback from teachers who say “no teacher I know wants the responsibility of carrying a gun in the classroom.” I tell them they need to talk to more of their co-workers, because I’m not aware of a single school district in the country that adopted armed staff but then had to cancel the program because of a lack of volunteers. It’s usually the other way around. Districts have to turn away or phase in applicants because of the number of staff members who are interested in serving as a sentinel in the schools.
Now that we’ve seen High Point, Missouri adopt this program, I think there are a few other communities in Missouri that would be a natural fit for armed school staff. How about Winchester, located in St. Louis County? I bet the folks in Sparta would be all on board, and I’m positive the residents of Clever, Missouri are smart enough to recognize a good idea when they see one.
On the other hand, I’m not so sure how the idea of armed staff would go over in Tightwad, though it worth pointing out that the cost of training can be defrayed through local fundraisers and community support.
In all seriousness, there are lots of school districts around the state where a law enforcement response might be five, ten, or even fifteen minutes away, and they should all be looking at the same type of program that’s now in operation in High Point. The odds are there’ll be plenty of support among parents, and lots of volunteers among the school staff.