Lydia Sheaks
Lydia Sheaks
Lydia Sheaks, education reporter, writes about finding adventure in the everyday, her opinions of current events and trends and occasionally her two cats.

Other Stories by Lydia Sheaks
Reporter Lydia Sheaks writes about education and family issues for the Elkhart Truth.

School employees with guns is latest move toward school safety

School employees in Indiana will be allowed to pack heat starting in July, and a nearby school corporation is considering a similar decision.

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

A Concord Schools employee lost his job earlier this year because he carried his gun onto school property. 

But elsewhere in Indiana, school officials are encouraging employees to arm themselves. 

North White School Corporation, located near Lafayette, will have its administrators and school board members carrying guns starting in July, according to WLFI.

Closer to home, Eastern Pulaski Community Schools in Winamac is considering the same thing, though its board hasn't made any official proposal yet.

Superintendent Dan Foster said the board talked about the issue first in its June meeting and will talk about it again in July.

He says school board members feel they must consider arming employees since Gov. Pence signed a law allowing guns in school parking lots in March.

“The board could authorize custodians, teachers, (any) school employees (to carry a gun), and that’s why we are trying to have that discussion,” he said. “We are just trying to give this due diligence and have the conversation.”

There’s many pros and cons to the issue, Foster admitted, and its an issue that has divided the Winamac community.

"You ask two or three people in the community and you’re going to get two or three different answers,“ he said. "I think to some people, (arming employees) would put them more at ease and then some people would feel more on edge."

One possible benefit Foster sees is that employees with guns would give the schools an added line of defense in case of attack, since they don’t have school resource officers.

One drawback could be that arming certain employees only (like all the principals, for example) could make those people more of a target for attackers.

Even if the board allows guns, employees would never be required to carry one. In fact, Foster said he’s heard from several who wouldn't want to carry a gun even if it were allowed.

”It’s one thing to go out hunting for sport and game…but if you’re down and a student goes for your weapon…that opens another whole can of worms there,” Foster said.

Any employee authorized to carry a gun at school would have to go through extensive training — which Foster says local police have already offered to help with — and they’d have to meet strict criteria.

Several Elkhart County schools do employ school resource officers, who are members of the local police force paid by the schools.

But they haven’t talked about arming employees, at least not publicly. 

What do you think? Could administrators with guns be the answer to school shootings? 

Email me at lsheaks@elkharttruth.com or contact me on Twitter.


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