SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Public School system has decided to allow specially trained school resource officers to carry guns on school grounds. The change could happen as early as January.
School district staff said they have been planning the change for a few years. The decision was approved Wednesday evening at a school district board meeting.
Before the rule is implemented, however, the 13 commissioned officers who work for Spokane Public Schools must be trained, evaluated, and be deemed fit to carry a firearm. Currently, officers only carry pepper spray and batons.
“If you look around the nation, usually police officers do have a weapon on them,” said Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelley Redinger.
The Spokane Police Department will provide the training for the officers. Just like in SPD, the officers in schools will be trained to draw their weapon when there is a life or death threat.
Some people say, however, they would prefer another method to protect students and teachers.
“There are some teenagers that are going to look and say why does he get to carry one and I don't,” said one woman at the school board meeting. “I think it sets up a horrible, horrible, horrible precedent.”
While the policy is new for Spokane Public Schools, some students said they did not even realize officers had not been carrying guns.
“I’ve never even noticed,” one young student said. “I think most of the students, if you asked them, would think they're already armed.”
The superintendent says the resource officers will not store their weapons on campus, but will have them on their side at all times. Teachers and administrators, however, will not be allowed to carry guns under the new rules.