DES MOINES, Iowa – The Spirit Lake School Board unanimously approved a measure on Monday allowing the school district’s superintendent to designate ten willing non-instructional school staff members to carry concealed firearms.
The school district in northwest Iowa is the first to implement a policy under a law that permits school districts to authorize staff to carry and transport firearms on campus.
The policy was drafted and implemented after research and consultation with local law enforcement.
“Having this policy in place serves as a deterrent for anyone who might consider entering our schools with the intent to do harm,” Dr. David Smith, superintendent of Spirit Lake Community Schools, said in a released statement following the board meeting. “The enhanced safety policy will supplement the other safety features the district has in place, including, but not limited to, locked doors, security cameras, additional mental health supports, and a district resource officer. The district will also continue to utilize its comprehensive safety plan, provide staff and students with age-appropriate training, and review other safety measures that add additional layers of security to its facilities.”
As reported by Explore Okoboji, Smith said designated staff would have to complete a designated, licensed training program before they can carry on campus. The school district will likely own the firearms to ensure the training staff receive is uniform. The school district’s plan includes armed staff at home athletic events and activities. The board also approved procedures for emergency drills and active shooter training sessions.
Dickenson County Sheriff Greg Baloun, present at Monday’s school board meeting, applauded the board’s decision.
He said no-firearms signs and laws do not persuade people with ill intent but prevent lawful citizens from carrying. “Congratulations for taking this step. There’s a lot of school districts I think right now that are going to pay attention to what’s going on at this meeting right here,” he said.
The Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) welcomed the school board’s decision.
“The Spirit Lake School Board clearly loves their children enough to ensure, should tragedy strike, a threat can be addressed,” IFC President Dave Funk said. “We strongly encourage all other Iowa school districts to follow in the footsteps of Spirit Lake. Our children are worth protecting.”