A passionate debate played out at Sandpoint High School as community members sounded off on a proposal to arm their teachers with guns.
The proposal was brought forth by Lake Pend Oreille School Board President Steve Youngdahl. The district recently reviewed security measures at their schools and police response time was too slow, he says.
A possible fix would be to train and arm select teachers and staff at Sandpoint schools. The guns would have fingerprint recognition technology and the identities of the armed staff would only be known by school administrators and law enforcement.
The hot-button issue nearly packed the high school gym with both sides of the debate passionate.
“The more heavily armed a society, this is a fact, the more gun deaths that society has,” one man stated, who was against the proposal.
“I do believe from the bottom of my heart that we need weapons in every school to protect those children,” another man followed.
Youngdahl says Tuesday night's public comment is just the start of a very long discussion about the roll of guns in schools.
“It's a very emotional topic, it's a very uncomfortable conversation but one we need to have,” Youngdahl said.
Youngdahl's goal in bringing up this discussion is to reduce the amount of time it takes to neutralize an active shooter situation. Through safety studies they found police response time in the Lake Pend Oreille School district isn't fast enough and that could mean more lives lost.
No immediate decision will be made on the proposal.