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DeKALB – DeKalb school administrators and the District 428 School Board are confronting the gun debate and whether to allow trained teachers or other employees the option to have a concealed carry gun in school buildings, although Superintendent Jamie Craven does not support the measure.
At the School Board meeting Tuesday, Laura Vazquez, a member of the DeKalb League of Women Voters, voiced opposition to more guns in schools and urged the board to say no to the option, which was brought forward by the Illinois Association of School Boards. The board did not vote on the matter Tuesday.
Schools are being asked to weigh in on whether the association of school boards should support laws that would allow teachers or district personnel to voluntarily carry a gun if they had the proper FOID cards and licenses – and also if they participated in annual active-shooter training.
Another law would provide state funding for more school resource officers in districts.
Vasquez said the league has concerns about the association laws because of what she described as a “potential for dangerous consequences.”
“Schools should be places of safety,” Vazquez said. “There is no evidence to show that arming personnel within a school increases schools safety. We should be working to keep guns out of our schools. Please consider the fact that someone is responsible or liable if there is an accident. Would that be the district? Are teachers going to be trained the same way that police officers are trained?”
Craven said the association did not support arming teachers. However, each school district will have the option to decide whether to approve the measures locally. He said adding trained school resource officers could help schools in emergencies.
“Introducing more weapons into schools was collectively, not unanimously, rejected,” Craven said. “That’s just the position of one body in the state.”
School resource officers in DeKalb are members of the DeKalb Police Department and trained as such, which Craven said was in line with one of the recommended resolutions.
He said the Mercer County School District (which proposed the concealed carry law), for instance, was in support of the resolutions because they’re more rural than other districts.
“Their rationale is that they’re living in such remote counties that the response time for police officers can be several minutes,” Craven said. “Where in some counties you don’t have large municipalities like DeKalb or Sycamore where officers could respond if needed.
“Some communities in Ogle County, if they don’t have a local police force, they’re at the mercy of where one of the county officers might be.”