Missouri Will Allow Teachers to Carry Guns on Campus

By samischmid

Beginning on Oct. 10, a law allowing teachers with the proper training and a conceal and carry permit to bring guns on campusInfographic11314 as school protection officers was passed after the override of Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 656.

Schools will be allowed to have teachers become school protection officers if it is approved by the local school district at a public meeting where parents and other community members can comment and discuss the issue. There has to be a vote by the school board deciding whether or not it will be done in that district. If it passes the board, then teachers that wish to become school protection officers will send in applications that the school board will look through and approve. Any teacher approved will have to go through 112 hours of Police Officer Standards Training (POST) and if they wish to maintain their status as a school protection officer they’re will have to complete 12 hours of additional training each year.

“We didn’t just open up the classrooms to anyone carrying a weapon,”  Senator Will Kraus’ Chief of Staff, Mark Siettmann said. “Only very well trained people will be able to do this. They’re going to get basically the same training as a police officer.”

This bill gives school districts the option to have school protection officers but doesn’t not require them. Some schools in Kansas City and the St. Louis area  such as the St. Louis School District have already decided against this policy, while other districts have yet to choose where they stand on the matter.

“I know that the procedures that we have in place, the procedures that have been designed by our district are procedures that when implemented correctly are effective, so those are the procedures that I’m going to follow, that I’m going to put stock in because I know that they have worked,” The Head Principal of FHN, Andrew Downs said. “We will follow whatever directives we are given from our school district.”

FHSD’s government committee had a no tolerance policy on firearms previous to Bill 656. Their policy is now going to be put under revision due to the bill. FHSD will have a school board meeting on Nov. 20 for a first reading of the policy, and a second reading in December.

“We are not recommending that we have school protection officers,” FHSD Superintendent Pam Sloan said. “It’s not something that I support. I think the responsibility having a weapon in the classroom is a distraction from what they [teachers] were hired to do.”

While Sloan does not believe the policies of Bill 656 are for FHSD, she understands that it is up to the school board to make the final decision.

“The board in the end is the one who approves policies that govern our district,” Sloan said. “In the end the ultimate decision is up to the board.”