Boone County School Board shows no support for arming teachers with guns

BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Not one board member came out in support of guns in the classroom at Thursday's Boone County School Board meeting with its Safety Committee, held to consider whether teachers should be armed.

According to board chairwoman Karen Byrd, it's a bad idea.

"Personally, I have grave concerns about the program for the same reasons you heard tonight," she said. "Teachers did not go into teaching to be armed guards in the classroom."

Boone County Constable Joe Kalil took three minutes at Thursday's meeting, held at the Ralph Rush Center, to convince those there that teachers should be armed.

"Instead of having a 'No gun' sign on the front of the door of a school, which actually tells the gunman that nobody there is actually capable of protecting themselves, we want a sign that says, 'Teachers and staff in this school are trained and armed,'" Kalil said. "We think that sign alone will prevent the attack from happening."

He asked the board to put his argument on its agenda for a vote, but he was answered with silence.

"Well, [It's difficult] when you only have three minutes to talk about something, and for the record, only two out of these five board members have heard a presentation on P.O.S.T.," Kalil said. "Come on."

One member was early to oppose it.

"My exact reason for being against it is I don't think teachers are ... they never went into the profession to be armed guards," C. Ed Massey said. "I think it puts liability of them. I think it puts liability on school board members. None of us are law enforcement officials."

Superintendent Dr. Randy Poe heard Kalil's sales pitch, but wasn't sold.

"I firmly believe that any armed person in a building should be law enforcement," Poe said.

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Two weeks before the board meeting, Kalil presented his P.O.S.T. (Protecting Our Students and Teachers) program to the board. Kalil believes that guns in school could save lives. P.O.S.T. would allow teachers to carry a weapon after completing a background check and five-and-a-half days of training.

P.O.S.T. is similar to a program used by the Transportation Security Administration to arm pilots.

Kalil has received mixed feedback to his program. Parents offered tentative support, teachers and administrators shared concern and others outright rejected Kalil's proposal.

Boone County currently staffs armed resource officers at high schools and middle schools.

After hearing "no" from the board Thursday night, Kalil still refuses to throw in the towel.

"Keep in mind, everybody is focusing on Boone County. We have all these other school systems we're in dialogue with."

WCPO web editor Jesse Folk contributed to this report.

 

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