The board of education for a rural school district in El Paso County, Colo., voted Wednesday, Dec. 14, for a resolution allowing staff members to carry concealed handguns on campus if they volunteer as emergency security officers.
The resolution passed by a vote of 3–2, specifically allowing school employees with a concealed carry permit to sign up for extra security duty after completing a firearms training program, which includes at least 14 hours of range time and six hours of active shooter training.
Hanover School District #28 is located approximately 30 miles southeast of the nearest police station in Colorado Springs, and includes an elementary school and a conjoined middle school and high school, grades six through 12.
Prairie Heights Elementary School and Hanover Jr/Sr High School have a combined total of around 20 teachers and 245 students.
School board president Mark McPherson, who voted against the resolution, explained how the proposal came to fruition.
“We had a board member who introduced the idea back in June who indicated he felt the need for this because of the distance and response time (from law enforcement) as well as all the (potential) trouble from marijuana grows,” he said.
Despite the well-intended nature of the new policy, local law enforcement has expressed concern about the consequences of allowing inexperienced civilians to handle dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations.
“Our gravest concern if there should be an active shooter at the school is if there are teachers who have weapons and they’re moving kids from point A to point B. They’re trying to escort them out of the school, and we see somebody with a weapon,” said El Paso County Undersheriff Mark McPherson. “We don’t know if that person is a combatant or a non-combatant. It causes us to delay and shift focus until we ascertain that [information].”
One other Colorado school district located in Weld County, Briggsdale School serving students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, currently allows staff to carry concealed firearms, a policy instituted in 2013.
[Reuters] [9News] [Photo courtesy Politico]