Lebanon Reporter

State News

May 15, 2014

Policy allows officials to carry guns in school

Eds: Updates with additional detail, quotes.

MONON, Ind. (AP) — Officials in a northwest Indiana school district will be able to carry guns on school property beginning this summer under a new policy.

The North White County school district approved the policy this week.

The policy was approved unanimously and becomes effective July 1. It will allow officials and administrators who undergo required training to carry semi-automatic weapons while school is in session and at school events.

Officials who wish to carry guns must attend a six-hour session on firearm basics, a 40-hour course on crisis management and defensive tactics and two annual training exercises. Guns must be carried in a holster and cannot be stored inside school buildings.

Potential participants also would be required to take a psychological evaluation at least once a year.

"We heard from both sides on the argument," said Shannon Mattix, board president for the Monon-based district in White County. "As a board, we stuck with facts and statistics over emotion. It's an emotional issue."

Officials discussed the issue and held several public hearings for about four months before the vote. The board consulted with legislators, lawyers and law enforcement. Members also researched school shootings and violent crime statistics.

Mattix said officials considered adding a school resource officer but decided against it due to the expense.

She said the board's seven members believe the move will enhance student safety.

The school district is based in Monon, 30 miles north of Lafayette.

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