Lawmakers endorse bills that would authorize teachers to carry firearms

Posted May 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Missouri’s House has voted to give school districts the power to authorize teachers and other staff to carry weapons on school grounds and detain suspects.

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said authorizing teachers to carry firearms is not the right answer to prevent massacres in Missouri schools.

“This is allowing teachers to be law enforcement,” Newman said. “That should be a red flag for everyone.”

On Wednesday, April 24, the Senate Education Committee heard a similar bill to allow school districts to hire armed police officers to patrol schools as permanent employees.

Currently, Blue Springs School District in Kansas City is the only school district that allows full-time armed officers as staff. Other school districts can have law enforcement in schools but only as part-time employees. In these districts, the officers’ salary is a shared expense between the municipality and school.

That bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Jackson County, said that having police officers in schools allows for faster response time, greater prevention and better relationships with students to prevent in-school and out-of-school violence.

The measure would also make it easier for school employees to report child abuse by removing any possibility of adverse employment action or repercussions for taking action.