N. Idaho district considers arming teachers


The Lake Pend Oreille School District is considering arming school staff, and training them to respond in an emergency.

It will take several months for the North Idaho district to consider the pros and cons, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported Wednesday.

But one advantage, according to School Board Chairman Steve Youngdahl, is that in an emergency, teachers can respond more quickly than police officers who are not on the scene.

“Our campuses are vulnerable, and when seconds count, we need a first line of defense,” he said, according to the Bee.

Under existing state law, school boards have the authority to allow staff to bring firearms to campus.

But the Lake Pend Oreille proposal comes amid new focus on school security issues.

A state task force is reviewing existing school security guidelines, and the group may have proposals for the 2014 Legislature. A legislative “interim committee” — assigned to study K-12 issues during the Legislature’s off-season — will spend part of its Oct. 2 meeting discussing security issues.

And in November, the Idaho School Boards Association will consider a push to allow school employees to attend the POST Academy — a training center for law enforcement officers. The idea comes from the Garden Valley School District — another district that has considered providing teachers with access to guns. The ISBA’s executive board opposes the idea.