Iowa's Help for Armed Teachers Leaves One Issue Unaddressed

AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

I've never hidden the fact that I support teachers being able to carry guns in schools. The truth of the matter is that if violent individuals are going to bring guns in schools, regardless of the laws barring them from doing it, teachers and staff members should have the ability to defend themselves.


Anti-gunners, unsurprisingly, feel differently about the topic.

As a result, they bring up all kinds of pitfalls, most of which don't bear out at all with reality. They claim the teachers the deify and say aren't paid nearly enough are also too untrustworthy to be trusted with a gun. The people who we're not supposed to even begin to doubt in education are people who will flip out at the drop of a hat and start shooting people.

It's kind of insane.

But an op-ed out of Iowa lamenting the state arming teachers does bring up one particularly valid concern, especially since it's an issue that's already come up.

That was the view of the Cherokee School Board when it started considering a school safety plan a couple years ago. Following the Spirit Lake School Board, Cherokee figured that school staff are the last line of defense in the face of an onslaught of shootings in rural and urban schools across the country. Some 45 Cherokee school staff members expressed interest in training and carrying a weapon. The training was conducted by a private consultant.

Despite controversy, the district committed to the plan until its insurance company, EMC, denied coverage based on guns in school. It did the same with Spirit Lake.

The Iowa House responded this session by passing a bill that would grant immunity to school staff who went through training authorized by the Iowa Department of Public Safety. It likely will become law. It would even give school districts $3 million to buy weapons (which seems like a bit of largesse for gun industry sales).

It remains to be seen if the House bill would result in insurance companies issuing coverage. At this point, the Cherokee School Board doubts it. If coverage is issued, rates could go sky-high. Insurers have been tightening up on property and casualty policies, and there isn’t a lot of competition for school business. Adding guns into the mix will drive rates further and reduce what little competition exists.


Now, there are other insurance providers out there, but I can't say definitively that others won't raise objections.

I'm pretty sure someone out there won't particularly care if there are armed teachers, or at least won't be stupid about the whole thing, especially as a number of states have similar programs to the one Iowa is undertaking. None of them have apparently had an issue with insurance.

Yet we also know that the insurance industry is all about mitigating risk. They're concerned about guns because the media has told every insurance company executive to be concerned about guns. They can't do much about guns in our homes, but in schools? There they can simply push back and refuse to provide coverage.

Hopefully, these schools will find an insurance provider that won't be so worried about teachers and staff members who are armed and trained via a state law enforcement-approved program and the schools can proceed.

But this is also the first time I've seen anything approaching a legitimate issue brought up by someone opposed to armed staff in our schools.

That's pretty sad when you think about how long we've had this discussion. 


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