Thursday, January 10, 2013
The Emporia School Board met to discuss a topic coming up across the nation, and in the state of Kansas as well.
The USD 253 board met Wednesday night to talk about putting guns in public schools, but for safety purposes.
The school board considered a topic that has many people divided, arming school security guards, but what they all agree on is that safety is the bottom line.
More people than usual attended the Emporia School Board meeting, to hear the boards consideration of a proposal to arm security guards, who are school employees.
The current policy bans all school employees from carrying guns.
"Asking for an exception in this case for security guards to be able to carry their weapons, we think would provide a safer, more secure environment," Assistant Superintendant for Personnel Andy Koenigs said.
The proposal is part of the district crisis plan, and would be enacted for higher security should an active shooter enter a district school.
They also proposed four changes to the job description of security guard, that law enforcement experience is required, at least three years, that they score 70 percent in shooting accuracy, that they have 20 hours of training a year, and that they follow legal use of force protocol.
Those who attended the meeting say something needs to be done now.
Kim Parks has a daughter in high school. "Whatever it takes to keep my children safe is what I want," she said.
Lane Ryno is a retired police officer. "I support the idea that they should have some armed security at the high school level. After Connecticut, even the grade schools also."
Others who have their doubts want other programs to be implemented if guns are allowed in schools.
"If we do guns, I hope we do lots of other things because I'm not in favor of the gun thing at all," June Hubert said. "I think we need to identify bullies, I think we need to identify kids who get bullied."
The board gave feedback regarding mental health evaluations, drills, and training of all school staff.
Emporia police officers said they are teaching active shooting to their officers and are working together with the schools in coordinating a response should an incident occur.
The board voted in favor of armed security guards.