The debate about how to protect students in schools continues as some schools take the summer to introduce new policies. Earlier this year, during the spring semester, in a five-to-one vote, the Crocker school board voted to allow teachers to be armed.
Crocker follows other school districts across the nation to allow armed staff into their hallways and classrooms.
Crocker Schools Superintendent Gary Doerhoff said the school board saw a need to have teachers armed. The resolution was in response to a growing number of deadly attacks happening in schools across the United States
“If you ever turn the news on, you saw the need for it,” Doerhoff said. The superintendent said firearms were not the only safety precaution implemented. The school has also issued metal detectors.
Doerhoff said the resolution was brought up at a school board meeting and was approximately one sentence long. “First of all, the board resolution was short, basically one sentence long, we will allow teachers to carry firearms at my discretion,” Doerhoff said.
Teachers who wish to carry a firearm must purchase them individually and attend one of three approved training courses. Teachers are also not required to carry if they choose not to.
“Really, it doesn’t change anything here. We put signs on all the entry ways. According to the insurance company, that’s probably the biggest deterrent,” Doerhoff said.
Insurance is provided by Missouri United School Insurance Council. Doerhoff said the insurance company would cover risks associated with armed teachers.
Doerhoff said Crocker taxpayers would not pay extra because the guns are privately purchased and training is sponsored by insurance.
“There is absolutely no requirement,” Doerhoff said. “Our board motion is like I said, one sentence. Only one who is required is the SRO.”
“So far, nobody has even applied,” Doerhoff said, saying no teachers have stepped forward.
However, Student Resource Officer Shawn Wright said most teachers are favoring the new resolution. “There’s been some who have voiced concerns about it,” Wright said. “Most teachers are in favor for it.”
Wright said the concerns a few teachers had is they might not feel comfortable being put into a situation where they may need to use a handgun.
Wright said the Crocker community’s response has been overall positive. “All the parents we’ve talked to have voiced positive comments about it,” Wright said. “I haven’t heard anything from students, either way or any direction.”
Doerhoff said he also has not heard any opposition from the Crocker community.
The Crocker school district has been working with the Crocker Police Department. Crocker Police Chief Nick Pappas said the department researched training requirements to be in accordance with Missouri law.
“We researched what is needed for a teacher to be armed,” Pappas said. Pappas said the police department did not train teachers and would have cost approximately $1000 dollars per teacher to be trained. The cost does not include ammunition prices.
Pappas said there is too much liability for the city if they trained the teachers.
Pappas said he is not opposed to the policy. “I’m not opposed to it, given proper training and proper coordination with law enforcement,” the Pappas said.
Wright said the school has taken all possible measures to ensure the safety of the school district. “We, myself, and admin, the school board – we have taken every step possible to ensure the safety of this school district,” Wright said.