Marysville News

Board broaches idea of arming school employees

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Superintendent Diane Mankins told the Marysville Board of Education last week she is less than thrilled with the idea of putting guns into the hands of some district employees.

Board member Doug Lassiter brought up the topic at the board's Oct. 17 meeting, saying he did not necessarily endorse arming teachers and administrators but thought it was worth at least discussing having someone armed in the buildings.

"If we did have someone armed in each building, it would be someone that would be qualified," he said.

Other board members said part of the idea made sense but only for individuals with proper training and possibly previous law enforcement or military experience.

Mankins said she would entertain the possibility of arming a school resource officer "or retired law enforcement," but said conversations she's had with law enforcement officials have indicated that arming someone inside the schools could be dangerous.

"They said, 'Diane, if we get a report that there is a shooter in that building and you have a teacher or administrator or custodian and we walk in and see them shooting someone, that's who we're going to shoot. We don't have a distinguishing factor to know that's a teacher or that's a custodian,' " Mankins said.

She pointed out that for now, area law enforcement is never far from any of the buildings.

"Do I believe school safety is essential? Absolutely," she said. "I am not a fan for (weapons) training our staff ... In my heart of hearts, that's not what we're trying to do."

At the end of the day, Mankins said, she is an educator.

"I'm a teacher; that's what I've always been.

"It's a sad day that we even have to talk about this for our teachers and our kids. But it's our reality and I accept that," Mankins said.

Board President Jeff Mabee said he has not heard from the community about the issue.

No action came from the discussion other than a suggestion for a brainstorming session to figure out if a plan to arm someone in each district building would be viable.

"At this point, I am not sure when we will discuss it again," Mabee said. "The board has tasked Mrs. Mankins to explore different options for getting trained personal, such as SROs or former law enforcement or similarly trained people, into each of our buildings. Once she has done that homework, we will hear her report and see where that goes."

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