Some Indiana school districts providing biometrically-locked guns to teachers

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

School shootings are a terrifying prospect. Even those that aren’t mass shootings are still frightening to everyone in the vicinity since, frankly, I don’t know how you’d tell the difference right off the bat.


It’s an issue that we need to address and one of the best ways to do so is allowing teachers to be armed. After all, they’re just as vulnerable as anyone else, but as teachers, they’re already trusted to do a great deal with our kids. For many of us, it just makes sense to trust them to defend their own lives and, by extension, our children’s lives as well.

There’s opposition to this, of course, and right now states that favor this solution are trying to figure out the best way to go forward with such a plan. Indiana has an interesting plan several school systems are moving toward.

At least seven school corporations in Indiana are in the process of setting up secret “armed response teams” that train staff on the use of deadly force and allow teachers access to firearms locked up in biometric safes.

“The reality is, if you’ve got somebody who’s entered your facility with the intent to do harm, or even kill, as heavy as that is, we want to make sure that they’re met with resistance,” Randolph Central School Corp. Superintendent Rolland Abraham said.

Randolph Central is one of the school corporations that approved plans this month to create armed response teams in five district school buildings. The move to train school staff on deadly force and active shooter training will have at least some of its cost covered by taxpayer dollars, a decision made by state lawmakers earlier this year.

Abraham said the training is necessary to “secure lives,” noting that staff and students often “with seconds” in dangerous school scenarios.

In early September, Randolph Central’s school board unanimously adopted a plan where teachers and staff may volunteer to join an “armed response team” to afford them access to loaded handguns. These handguns are to be stored in biometric safes hidden strategically throughout the school buildings.

The identity of staff members enrolled in the plan will be kept secret from parents and students.

“Team members are explicitly authorized to use deadly force to protect students, staff members, or others from what is reasonably believed to be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury due to violence,” the policy states.


Now, this is an interesting concept for addressing the issue. On the one hand, biometrically-secured firearms mean that students are even less likely to gain access to the firearms. Having them “hidden strategically” means that no matter where the teacher is when something goes down, they should just be a short distance from a firearm.

I’d imagine that it would be better for the gun to be on the teacher’s person–not only from an accessibility standpoint but also a security one–but I can also see how teachers might eventually decide that it’s too much of a pain to carry and not be armed at the moment they need it.

Then there are the concerns with biometrics. Just like with smart guns, biometric locks are a technology that isn’t 100 percent reliable.

Sweat, for example, can inhibit a biometric lock from correctly recognizing an authorized person. This is an issue here because guess what’s going to happen to someone who is in a very stressful situation and may have had to sprint to a secure firearm location?

That’s right: Sweat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see these Indiana schools embrace the concept of allowing teachers to serve as the frontline in protecting students. Especially since many have died trying to do just that without firearms. I’m just concerned that the school systems haven’t thought all of this through.



Join the conversation as a VIP Member