A Missouri town where teachers carry guns and parents approve

The staff provide their own guns, and must pass annual drug and mental health evaluations to carry at school

Topics: Guns, Gun Control, School, Children, Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, , ,

A Missouri town where teachers carry guns and parents approve (Credit: Shutterstock)

As the result of a new administrative policy, staff at Fairview School in West Plains, Mo., have been trained to carry concealed weapons, to the delight of many local parents. In order to carry a gun at the school, which runs from kindergarten through eighth grade, a group of Fairview employees underwent a 40-hour training course administered by a private security company. The staff, who provide their own firearms, must pass annual background, drug and mental health evaluations to maintain their carry license.

“Sooo very glad to hear this,” a woman whose grandchildren attend the school wrote in response to a local newspaper report touting the new policy, adding, “All schools in America should do this.”

As The New York Times reports, arming teachers didn’t cause a stir in West Plains, a community “in which the idea of guns in classrooms is not necessarily intimidating”:

By the time they are 6, many young boys and girls already have learned how to safely handle a weapon and have shot their first deer. Some live in homes where guns are not under lock and key, or on vast prairies where they shoot skeet with their families.

Sherri Roy, who has four children at the school, said in an interview that she “was really pleased” that some staff members were armed.

“If I didn’t know anything about guns, if I wasn’t raised with it, I’m sure I would be more uncomfortable,” she said. “But in this area guns are pretty much a normal, everyday part of your life.”

But parents and school officials haven’t uniformly cheered the policy. “I was really upset more about the way it happened, the back door,” Eileen Wilson, a Fairview parent, told the Times. Wilson was also angry that the school informed parents of the decision through a press release, rather than a public meeting where it could be debated: “I just don’t think something of this magnitude is something you just put out in a press release. ‘Oh, by the way, we got 10 people packing weapons now in school.’”

And in rural communities near West Plains, administrators have called the idea dangerous, choosing instead to increase security at school entrances and other safety measures.



“Traditionally in this area, schools have already been a very safe and welcoming community,” Karen Moffis, principal of a nearby school, told the Times, adding: “Nobody’s ever thought about needing that kind of thing at school.”

But Fairview officials insist the decision has been met with little controversy, and that arming their staff is just a part of the school’s overall safety initiative. The teachers, it seems, are adjusting, too. As one armed staff member told the Times: “You put your pants on, you put your belt on, that’s just what you do. Nothing awkward about it at all. I’ve been hugged many times before and since, and it’s never been any kind of an issue or question.

 

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>