The superintendent of a rural Indiana school district thinks schools should be able to use state dollars to implement policies that give some employees access to guns.
Jay County is the second district in the state to approve such a policy. It’s part of a lengthy safety and security plan school board members adopted last week. Under the plan, the school corporation will put bullet-resistant film on school windows, and establish a single entry point to each building.
But the most controversial aspect of the plan involves giving employees access to firearms stored in a gun safe in the event of a shooting. Administrators, teachers and support staff who volunteer will have to be vetted by the superintendent, sheriff and Portland police chief. They will also undergo a psychological evaluation and 26 hours of training before having access to the guns.
Superintendent Jeremy Gulley says the total cost of implementing those changes is unclear, but he thinks state dollars should be made available.
“As far as the ability to provide on-site armed capacity, [that] is going to take training dollars and equipping dollars,” Gulley says. “So right now the current school security grants available in the state don’t make provisions to do that.”
The North White School Corporation near Monticello, Indiana adopted a policy in 2014 that gives administrators and school board members the option to carry a concealed semi-automatic weapon. They also have to go through screening and training before being approved.
Legislators approved a bill last week that provides an additional five million dollars in funding for school safety grants, which can be used to help pay for a school resource officer, threat assessment or safety equipment.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer has said while Indiana law allows districts to arm teachers, she doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
Gulley says he thinks using blanket statements about arming teachers can be misleading. He says he’s against arming them in the classroom, which is why the district chose instead to keep weapons in a gun safe.