An Iowa school district voted to approve a measure that will allow some teachers and staff to carry firearms on campus, Fox News is reporting.
“No one wants guns in school, but we want bad guys with a gun even less,” Cherokee Schools Superintendent Kim Lingenfelter said, according to local news station KCRG. “And the board has taken a very measured and serious approach to the challenge of keeping students safe and staff.”
The Cherokee school district becomes the second in the state to allow guns in schools. The Spirit Lake school board passed a similar measure in August, which allows up to 10 staff members to carry firearms.
Discussions over allowing some staff members to carry guns in schools within the Cherokee district began in July. Lingenfelter said those discussions involved local law enforcement, a school resource officer and the chief of police. The Cherokee district approved the measure during a school board meeting Monday, KCRG reported.
At Monday’s meeting, parents and teachers discussed whether the district’s policy needed to be changed. The school board also announced the results of a poll taken before the meeting, which found 32 people in favor of allowing armed staff with just 11 opposed to the change.
“I just think of the difference it could have made at Sandy Hook, or in Texas,” one parent in favor of the change said, according to Siouxland News.
“I think they should be afforded that safety that government and politicians have,” Larry Pigott, grandfather of 11 kids in the district, said. “I feel that is a necessity due to the times that we are living in.”
The district’s choir director and a school nurse were among those who spoke out against the new policy.
The new policy exempts from gun bans “weapons under the control of law enforcement officials and staff approved by an administrative team.” The policy also requires staff members to attend monthly training sessions in order to continue carrying a firearm on school premises.
The district is expected to soon approve a list of teachers who want to carry guns on school property.
Following the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students and two teachers dead, school districts across the nation have begun considering similar measures to protect their students and staff.
In August, one school district in North Carolina opted to store AR-15 rifles in emergency safes throughout county schools.
“Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be,” Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the Asheville Citizen-Times after implementing the plan.
In Ohio, the state legislature passed a bill in June reducing the number of hours of required training from 700 to 24 hours of initial instruction, plus eight hours of additional training annually, making it easier for teachers to carry firearms in schools in the Buckeye State.
“I called on the General Assembly to pass a bill that would allow local school districts, if they so choose, to designate armed staff for school security and safety,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said of the bill before signing it into law. “House Bill 99 accomplishes these goals, and I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers.”