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When Emporia Public Schools' Board of Education started to discuss it in October, reactions were mixed.
Only a few months later, the school board approved a measure allowing school security guards to carry guns. That policy took effect Feb. 1.
"I think when we brought it in October, it was about 50-50," said Associate Superintendent for Personnel Andy Koenigs. "There was some positive support and there were some concerns, obviously. But after Sandy Hook, we have had very positive support for this. I think that just shook everybody's sense of security."
Other districts are contacting Emporia, seeking more information on its new decision. Topeka Public Schools is requesting more firepower for its guards.
Koenigs said typical EMS response time ranges from five to nine minutes. If a school shooter is done in less than five, having armed guards may detour a gunman, or reduce injuries.
"Obviously any time you talk about bringing guns into school, it brings a little bit of fear and trepidation. People say 'Why would we do that?' 'Why would we want to mix guns and kids?'" he said. "The more we learned from the Homeland Security training and the more we learn from what they learn from Columbine is 'time is of the essence.'"
Locally, Wichita Public Schools is not looking to join Emporia's decision.
"At this point in time, we do not have any retired commissioned officers on our security force," said Debbie McKenna, Director of Safety Services for Wichita Public Schools. "It would require a great deal of training and changes - alterations in terms of how we do business. At this particular point, we're not considering armed security officers."
McKenna said the district continuously evaluates protocols. Doors are locked except for the entrance. In the next 18 months, all schools are anticipated to have secured or monitored entrances. Staff is trained to be inquisitive with visitors.
"What we want them to look for is the agitation, the anger, the non-verbal signs of not willing to communicate, not make eye contact, wanting to get by that secured entrance as fast as possible," McKenna said.
McKenna encourages anyone who hears of a threat to call the district's anonymous tip line. From there, the district can access the threat. She said that through tragedies across the nation, staff has learned that people do not harm others without having told someone else beforehand.
Koenigs and McKenna were guests on KFDI's "At Issue" program. A copy of the podcast can be found here.