Pike Co. moves to arm teachers

Published 8:37 am Friday, March 2, 2018

More Kentuckians are taking action in the wake of the recent school shootings — which includes the recent Marshall County incident.

An article recently published in the Lexington Herald Leader details that the Pike County school district has approved the arming of teachers in the classroom. This is a popular strategy for many people, and controversial for others.

The proposal, still in its early stages, was approved earlier this week by the Pike County School Board.

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The article claims the decision was unanimous. The school board’s attorney will work with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office to hash a program they can form a policy around to bring to the school board for approval. Pike County’s superintendent, Reed Adkins, stated he would like to see this motion implemented by the fall. Currently, there are no schools that allow teachers to carry firearms.

Middlesboro Schools Superintendent Waylon Allen stated in regard to the decision in Pike County, “Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to such a complex problem. While I would not be in favor of all teachers being armed, I do think there are several possibilities for specific school employees, such as those with military and police background, to carry. I would like to see funding become available from state and federal governments to place more SROs (Safety Resource Officers) in our schools.”

The article also highlights some of the preliminary criteria for the proposal. School staff could be volunteers and conceal-carry at the schools. The volunteers would have to go through a background check, drug tests, a mental evaluation and a training course to be qualified to conceal-carry. Each staff member who is approved to carry would have to be re-qualified multiple times a year. Surprise inspections would also be held to make sure all of the necessary guidelines are being followed.

The article mentions that Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, John Akers, has reservations about arming teachers. He noted that putting firearms in the hands of teachers could potentially cause more harm than good, as he feels that arming people that don’t have training equivalent to law enforcement isn’t optimal for safety. He also stated that armed teachers could potentially add to the confusion if a shooting incident were to occur by accidentally shooting a fellow teacher, a student and possibly confuse law enforcement on the scene. He stated an important step in preventing these shootings is to build relationships with the students and their teachers.