A high school near Fresno, California, will allow some of its staff members to carry concealed weapons, a decision the school’s superintendent said will create "a safe environment for students and staff members."
The controversial policy underwent months of review before being approved 5-0 by the Kingsburg Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees Monday, making the district the second in California to allow staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus, reported NBC affiliate KSEE in Central Valley.
Folsom Cordova Unified, near Sacramento, has also allowed some employees to carry guns at school.
The policy will allow up to five staff members with concealed-carry permits to carry guns at school after going through an application process and having their discipline records and school conduct evaluated. The staff will also have to undergo firearms training, held by the school district twice a year. Nobody on campus will know who is selected to carry the guns.
"It’s unfortunate we live in a society where we have to even consider these measures," district Superintendent Randy Morris told KSEE. "But the reality is we do."
Morris said state law allows him to permit concealed-carry permit holders to have firearms on campus.
"It’s an opportunity to put our kids and staff in a better position," he said.
It comes more than three years after 20 first-graders and six staff members were killed in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The rampage prompted schools across the U.S. to take another look at campus safety and security, with many carrying out drills, bolstering security staff and even installing bulletproof whiteboards in classrooms.
Kingsbury district officials said the Sandy Hook shooting — along with other recent school shootings and terror attacks — prompted them to put the policy in place.
"During Sandy Hook, six staff members died, 20 children died, and it lasted less than five minutes, so that’s about one death every twelve seconds — imagine if one of those teachers was also armed," said Kingsburg police Chief Neil Dadian.
Dadian told KSEE he supports the new policy.
"If a staff member wants to put themselves at risk like that I am all for that — I will support them in any way I can," Dadian said.
Not everybody is happy about the new policy, however, with some even comparing it to the Wild West. Opponents said a fence around campus and even a security guard are better options.
"Now we are going to add something else for the teachers to think about — shooting people, really?" Mary Lou Swenning, whose grandchildren are enrolled in the district, told KSEE.