School board president wants staff armed

COLUMBIANA

A school board member wants to see staff armed with handguns to keep schools safe.

Columbiana board president Scott Caron encouraged the district on Tuesday to consider concealed carry to keep the schools from becoming “another statistic.”

“With incidents happening across the country … we need to make sure that our students are safe at all times,” he said.

Two people were killed in a high school shooting in New Mexico last week, and two more people were killed near schools in the Chicago area on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday, the Southern Local board approved allowing employees to carry a concealed handgun as part of its updated emergency management plan.

Columbiana Superintendent Don Mook said their discussion was not prompted by the Southern Local decision, but that Caron has asked him to look into the matter.

“There are options for school resource officers to concealed carry. I know we are fortunate to have a police department that is very active with us,” Mook said.

He went on to say that the topic was visited because of concerns about school-related violence in other states over the last week.

Mook did not take a stance on the matter but said that he would help the board with research and provide information to make an informed decision.

“This is something to discuss and research. My only objective would be, moving forward, to give information to you so that you could see the policies as well as potential problems that come along with that, and what kind of training happens,” he said.

He added that it is not a decision that can be made quickly.

Caron said the district needs to look into concealed carry within the schools for administrators, teachers, bus drivers and other staff.

“As we look at some of these things, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our students, to make sure that when a parent sends their student to Columbiana they feel comfortable about the education they get and they feel comfortable that they are in a safe environment from the outside world,” Caron said.

He believes a concealed carry policy would be a deterrent to potential attackers.

The next step is for the board to consider the matter and discuss possible policies and procedures with Mook and the police department before making a decision.

No one else on the board commented on the topic during the Tuesday meeting.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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