California school district votes to allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom

Teachers at one school district near Fresno will now be strapped like teachers in Texas and Indiana

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published April 13, 2016 3:14PM (EDT)

 (<a href=''>9387388673</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(9387388673 via Shutterstock)

Armed teachers in classrooms are no longer a reality reserved for states like Texas and Indiana, but now the norm in at least one California school district.

California's Kingsburg school board unanimously voted Monday night to allow school staff members to carry guns on school grounds, reported the Sacramento Bee. The new policy, which is effective immediately, will allow up to five staff members to carry guns on campus and even inside classrooms. Recently passed California state laws grants individual districts and superintendents the authority to allow guns on campus.

Kingsburg officials said the policy was put in place to ensure the safety of students in the case of an active shooter situation, citing the increase in school shootings. In an interview with Fox News, Kingsburg Police Chief Neil Dadian, who helped craft the new policy, said “It would be comforting or nice to know that somebody was on campus, armed, and could stop the violence.”

"My opinion? If a staff member wants to put themselves at risk like that, I'm all for it," the police chief of the small town near Fresno said, arguing that lives could have been saved at Sandy Hook Elementary during the 2012 shooting had teachers been armed.

Kingsburg superintendent Randy Morris told Fox News that he will decide which faculty members will be strapped with a firearm. Morris said that after faculty members receive the proper training, he plans to keep their identities secret. Faculty at Kingsburg High School will carry firearms in a holster worn either around the chest, inside the pants, around the chest, behind the back, on the front hip or the ankle .

Although Morris insists he's already received plenty of volunteers willing to walk around campus armed, some parents have already expressed concern about the new policy.

“That’s a difficult thing for a police officer to do who’s been trained to do this, and you have a split second to decide if you should kill this person or not. I wouldn’t want that responsibility, and I wouldn’t want it for our teachers," Mary Lou Swenning, who has grandchildren in the district, told the Bee. “Now we’re going to add something else for teachers to think about? Shooting people, really?”

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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