Local Skepticism Regarding Armed School Employees
A bill is going before the Arizona State Legislature that would allow schools to arm one employee with a gun. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan examines how the proposed legislation might impact school districts in northern Arizona.
The armed employee would have to be trained and have a background check. They would also keep the gun locked up. For Jim Walker, superintendent of the Page Unified School District, arming personnel is not how he would carry out school safety.
“I wouldn’t really be in favor of that for our school district. We put more effort in being prepared for emergencies. We have an emergency plan in place, we drill, we try to work with our local law enforcement agencies to make sure we’re prepared in case something does happen,” Walker said.
Page High School has a safety officer on campus. It’s a scenario Walker prefers over what he feels would be a complicated system of arming staff.
“Designating one person on a campus to be the one responsible to be armed and to respond, just throws a lot of dynamics into that whole issue. Who’s the person who’s going to be willing to do that? Who’s the person who’s going to respond if you do have an armed intruder?” Walker said.
Walker feels the bill might appeal more to rural communities that may have slower emergency response times. When contacted for an opinion on the bill, a spokesperson for the Flagstaff Unified School District said they were waiting to see what the legislature is going to do before making any decisions.