Governor Nixon: Don't Arm Missouri School Teachers
Legislation that would allow teachers with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in school has the support of Missouri House Republican leaders.
A spokesman for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced Monday that Nixon has sent letters to all 520 public school superintendents in the state, opposing legislation that would allow teachers with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapon at school.
The bill for the 2013 legislative session was filed following the Newtown, CT shooting, which left 26 people, including 20 children, dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is co-sponsored by House Republican leaders, including House Speaker Tim Jones and Majority Leader John Diehl.
“Here in Missouri we have a strong framework of laws to protect students and educators, such as the Missouri Safe Schools Act, which passed with broad bipartisan support in 1996. Current law also allows local school boards to prohibit guns in their classrooms. This is a time-tested and solid foundation that we should reinforce, not undermine," Governor Nixon wrote.
“That is why I have serious concerns about recently introduced legislation that proposes not only to arm teachers, but to do so by taking away the authority of local school districts to keep guns out of classrooms," Nixon added. "More can and should be done to enhance school safety, but this legislation would put our children at risk and limit the ability of local school districts to keep their schools safe."
Affton School District schools have two armed school resource officers who protect students and staff—one stationed at Affton High School and one who patrols multiple schools.
The school district and the St. Louis County Police share the cost of the two officers.
Superintendent Steve Brotherton said the school district has an excellent relationship with St. Louis County Police's Affton precinct and said the school runs drills to keep students and staff prepared for "any type of crisis."
"They're in contact with us all the time," Brotherton said about county police. "They have their own kids who go to our schools. I see us as great partners."
One of Affton's school resource officers helped the school district and St. Louis County Police coordinate to respond to rumors of violent threats at Affton High School Friday.
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School officials became aware that rumors were circulating about possible violence at the high school late Thursday and notified police.
St. Louis County Police determined that the rumors—which apparently originated on Facebook—were not credible. Police have already heightened patrols at schools across the county, including Affton High School.
Affton School District also has a D.A.R.E. officer who regularly meets with students, especially in elementary schools.
Governor Nixon closed his letter to the superintendents saying he would "engage with Missourians to find common sense solutions to keep our schools safe."
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