On Wednesday, the Hanover School District in rural Colorado voted 3-2 to allow its teachers and other school staff to carry guns on campus to protect students. The board of 28 members voted in favor of allowing school employees to volunteer to be armed on the job after undergoing training. The latest Colorado vote came on the fourth yearly observance of the Sandy Hook massacre.
The district is made up of two schools and serves about 270 students. In the event of an emergency, it would take police around 20 minutes to respond since the schools are about 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. The district currently shares an armed school resource officer with four other school districts.
Board members agreed that allowing employees to carry guns would protect the students from a possible mass shooting but would also protect them from any violence that could arise from nearby marijuana growers that are associated with foreign cartels. School board President Mark McPherson said a survey showed the community was split on the issue.
Some other school districts in Colorado, as well as in Texas, Oklahoma and California, have also backed allowing teachers to carry weapons following the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. Considering the response time for police in these rural areas, some teachers and other employees at a one-school district are currently being trained after the school board approved the move in July.
An undisclosed number of teachers and other employees at a one-school district in Colorado’s sparsely populated Eastern Plains are currently being trained after the school board approved the move in July, largely out of concern for how long it would take law enforcement to respond. They all must undergo an initial 46 hours of training which includes live fire training, yearly training and requires that participants much undergo a psychological examination. The firearm training costs a total of $3,000.