Beginning today, some Huntington school district employees will be carrying loaded weapons on campus.
Trustees approved the move in March, deciding it would further ensure the safety of students, according to Superintendent Eric Wright.
“Our board passed the policy, CKC LOCAL, in March of the last school year to allow certain staff to carry firearms on school grounds for the safety and protection of our students,” Wright said. “Today, we put up new signs to notify the public of this new policy.”
Wright said it was the tragedy last year in which a man fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., that prompted the board of trustees to assemble a safety security task force in the Huntington school district.
“After months of research, deliberation and preparation, the board voted in March to pass a concealed carry policy for the district,” Wright said. “Staff members possessing a Concealed Handgun License and desiring to carry on campus had to undergo several levels of training including passing a firearms proficiency test, passing a psychological evaluation, passing an active shooter training class, and passing a firearms safety course.”
Wright would not name the staff who will be carrying a firearm or how many will be armed.
“For confidentiality and safety reasons I can’t reveal the number of individuals that we have selected to carry in the district,” he said. “The district does have a full-time police officer assigned to each campus. Our board wanted to be proactive and offer the safest environment possible for our students, staff and community. The officers and the concealed carry policy serve as an insurance policy to safeguard the children in the district. The board did not want the district’s staff or students to be defenseless and at the mercy of some deranged individual wishing to do harm.”
Wright said the move is districtwide and will be in effect at all campuses and departments within the district. The district’s Facebook page had more than 100 “likes” and more than 60 shares and comments after Wright posted the notice. Of the posts, the majority of the comments were positive.
The Facebook comments of support included one from Robert Redmon, who said, “Hopefully more schools will see the benefit of this and follow suit. And perhaps a national news story when and if a teacher stops a gunman.”
Tammy Marie Elliott said, “My son is so much safer to send to school now. Way to go Huntington for setting this up. More schools will follow, hopefully.”
Kristal Murphy Sims posted, “It’s sad it has to be this way, but I’m for it.”
Left Lane posted, “Thank you Huntington for standing up for the children, our rights and the American way.”
Wright said the district is confident that students are safe. He said the measure is only for added security.
“The community seems to be appreciative of the safety and security measures that we have in place,” he said.
Rhonda Oaks’ email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.