The Spokane school board recently approved the plan for resource officers to carry weapons on campus, meaning guns in Spokane public schools will soon become a reality.
It's a hot-button issue that has been sparking a nationwide debate since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. eight months ago. 26 people, including 20 children, were killed in that shooting, the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, which forced schools all across the country to re-evaluate their security plans.
The Spokane school district says what happened at Sandy Hook brought the topic of guns on campus into the limelight. However school officials say the plan has been in the works for the last two years.
By January, Spokane Public Schools plans to arm 14 school resource officers with .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistols.
"This is to make sure we are prepared for any external threat, someday someone decides to come on to campus," Jason Conley, who is in charge of security for the district, said.
Conley said resource officers already train twice a year with the Spokane Police Department and starting this fall they will add firearm training to their curriculum.
"Once we are armed, I believe four times a year, you have to requalify your weapon," Conley said.
Conley says having armed officers on campus is progressive. Some parents disagree.
Nancy Flanary is sending her five-year-old daughter Lily to kindergarten at Roosevelt Elementary School this fall, and she's anxious about an armed officer being on campus.
"It seems as though they will be curious with the guns and that will bring out more interest in guns and to me that's creating more of a problem, she said.
Nan Luppert also disagrees that having guns on campus is progressive.
"The likelihood of any crazy person again getting into a school to kill kids is so minute compared to having guns around," Luppert said.
In addition to arming resources officers, Spokane Public Schools spends $1.5 Million each year on security, and in the last ten years has installed 1,100 security cameras and key card entries across the district.
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