Plan for arming teachers gets preliminary OK in Kentucky county

A Kentucky school board approved a preliminary proposal on Monday that would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons.

The unanimous decision from the Pike County School Board, in Pikeville -- about 160 miles southeast of Frankfort, the state’s capital -- comes amid the nation’s growing concern over how to best protect students following the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Fla., the Lexington Herald Leader reported.

A school shooting Jan. 23 in Benton, Ky., left two students dead and more than a dozen injured. A student opened fire at Marshall County High School.  

The Pike County proposal would let school staff volunteer to carry a concealed weapon and act as armed guards, the paper reported. The Sheriff’s Office would conduct background tests and offer firearms training.

Volunteers would also have to requalify several times per year.

The school board’s attorney will now work with the Pike Country Sheriff’s Office to create a final policy for the school board’s consideration – something that Schools Superintendent Reed Adkins told the paper he hopes to have approved within a few weeks, with school staff armed by the fall.

“You hope you’re making the right decision for kids, but I know right now something’s got to be done,” Adkins told the paper. “We may be criticized, but at the end of the day I’ll take criticism to protect my students.”

If approved, it will be the first school district to allow teachers to carry guns in the state, according to Jon Akers, executive director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, who told the paper “every educational group across the country” is against the notion.

Two school districts near Dayton, Ohio have a confidential team of trained teachers authorized to access guns hidden in safes throughout the campus to defend against an active shooter situation.

Click here for more on this story from Lexington Herald Leader.