WA school district with armed staff says they're 'safest district in the country'

WA school district with armed staff says they're 'safest district in the country'

TOPPENISH, Wash. – On Thursday, KREM 2 reported that a North Central Idaho school district had decided to arm teachers.

It was brought to our attention that the Toppenish School District currently has employees who are trained and licensed to carry.

Turns out that Toppenish was the first district in the state to arm staff.

School leader said over a dozen administrators in the district carry concealed. Their policy was adopted three years ago. Since then, Superintendent John Cerna said they have had no issues. Back in 2014, he said they did it because they couldn’t keep children safe. Three years later, they are sticking by their guns.

"I believe we're one of the safest school districts in the country," said Cerna.

Similar to the policy recently adopted by the Mountain View School District in Grangeville, Idaho, administrators volunteer to have guns. They then undergo 40 hours of training from a private security contractor before the Toppenish district gives them the OK. They need to be re-certified every year.

"We haven't had any problems. No issues. Everything's concealed. Nobody knows who's carrying," said Cerna.

Cerna said that last part is important because it gives the armed administrators the upper hand in the event of a violent emergency. Of course, there haven't been any instances where staff have had to use their guns or even pull them out, for that matter. Cerna wants to keep it that way.

"We're not doing this as a publicity stunt. We want to make sure our kids are safe. Period," said Cerna.

Cerna said their decision to arm administrators was prompted by the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. He cited potentially slow police response times as a reason to arm staff.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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