Should Idaho's teachers carry guns in the classroom?
BOISE -- A state safety task force met Thursday to consider arming Idaho's teachers. The measures are part of a nationwide conversation held in the wake of the tragic Connecticut school shooting in December.
"What we know from Sandy Hook is that that school was doing many and most the things that schools need to do to provide protection and it still wasn't enough," said Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Luna.
The Safe Schools Task Force meeting included a variety of stakeholders, all focused on student safety: local law enforcement, state law enforcement, homeland security, division of building safety, local administrators, teachers, and a member of the legislature.
One major topic at the meeting was guns in schools, and who should be allowed to carry.
According to Idaho law, there is a statute prohibiting firearms on campuses. However, there is a provision that lets a district's board of trustees decide if they want to allow certain employees to carry. Matt McCarter, the meeting's facilitator says they talked about what to do if a district decides to let employees carry.
"A lot of the discussion has to do with if a school district goes down that road, what are some key considerations that they need to contemplate, things like what kind of training should be required, what kind of background check should be required," said McCarter.
McCarter said having armed school employees is just one part of the overall issue of school safety. He said another big part is placing convenience over school safety. The task force also looked at the overall state of school safety, and key vulnerabilities. McCarter said they want to make sure schools are prepared to react to a crisis, but also, that they are working to prevent a crisis.
"A lot of the conversations are on striking a healthy balance between a safe and secure school, but also an inviting, fun, thriving environment for students and families," said McCarter.
The task force said this was just the first of many meetings. Thursday, they started coming up with recommendations, but said they will not present any legislation this year.
We found out at the Midvale School District administration and staff members are allowed to conceal carry. First, they have to be properly trained and approved by the school board. They would not tell us how many district employees are currently approved.