An Iowa school district voted Monday to allow teachers to be armed on school grounds.
“No one wants guns in school, but we want bad guys with a gun even less,” Cherokee Schools Superintendent Kim Lingenfelter said, according to KCRG-TV. “And the board has taken a very measured and serious approach to the challenge of keeping students safe and staff.”
The Cherokee School District was the second in northwestern Iowa to allow armed staff. In August, the Spirit Lake school board approved a policy allowing 10 school staff to be armed in school, according to KCRG-TV.
“As a school district, we have an obligation to protect our students and staff from a possible active shooter situation,” Superintendent David Smith said. “We know that when these events occur, most of the victims fall within the first few minutes.
“We have determined the right action to take is to give trained staff members the opportunity to stop a killer as soon as possible,” he said.
During debate Monday night on the Cherokee proposal, Jodi Feser, a teacher at a neighboring district, said an armed teacher could have made the difference in recent incidents, according to the Cherokee Chronicle Times.
“Sadly now we’ve come to this. Well, maybe we need to arm people in the building. I can support that. I trust that if you do that, they have trained you to have safe places for the guns. It’s not something you’re going to do lightly,” Feser said.
“I just think of the difference that could have made at Sandy Hook or down at Texas or at any of these,” she said, noting that despite the need for such a policy, she would not be comfortable knowing a co-worker was armed.
Board President Jodi Thomas said the step was necessary.
“As a parent, I have a maternal instinct to protect my kids, but when they’re in school, and I’m not here, I think people are reverting to protecting their kids,” she said.
“We’re talking about this because there’s bad guys.”
Not everyone agreed.
Tyler Puettmann, the high school choir director, said arming teachers would mean the relationship between students and teachers “would be changed forever.”
“Students would view their teachers not as educators, but as enforcers, jailers or threats,” he said.
“There would forever be the unspoken statement ‘My teacher has a deadly weapon on their person right now and could pull it out at any time’ lingering in the air,” he wrote in a letter to the board. “This implicit threat would drastically alter the dynamic between teachers and students, likely irrevocably.”
The district’s policy will require training for all teachers who want to carry a gun, according to KPTH-TV.
The Monday night vote approving the policy was unanimous, according to the Chronicle Times.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.