WICHITA, Kan. - UPDATE
The Wichita School District released the following statement in response to a proposed bill that would allow teachers and staff to conceal and carry in Kansas schools:
The Wichita Public Schools is opposed to HB 2789. Current Kansas state policy allows local school boards to decide whether or not to authorize employees to carry concealed handguns. The Wichita Public Schools believe that should continue to remain a locally-controlled decision.
Wichita Public Schools’ policy P1151 states no person may possess or store a firearm while on property owned or operated by the school district, with the exception of law enforcement. The policy also states that employees who possess or store firearms while on district property are subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
The Wichita school district has joined several other districts in Kansas in opposition of the bill.
State law for teachers carrying guns in classrooms could change.
Lawmakers in Kansas are set to discuss a bill Tuesday that would make it easier for teachers to carry concealed guns in schools as long as the teachers are trained. House Bill 2789 would make districts open to negligence lawsuits if a shooting happens in a school where teachers were not allowed to conceal and carry, and it would prohibit insurance companies from raising rates or refusing coverage for schools with armed teachers.
The bill states any teachers who conceal and carry on campus would need to get a new license from the state, and the list of teachers with weapons would not be available to the public. The bill would also set standards for training procedures involving overall school safety.
Other parts of the bill include rules for a statewide firearms education curriculum and rules on school security plans.
The Shawnee Mission School District released a statement opposing the bill, KFDI sister station KSHB in Kansas City reports.
The district stated putting more guns in schools means creating more opportunities for students to access those guns. A school board member said they think only trained police officers should have access to lethal weapons on school grounds.
"In the Shawnee Mission School District, we've designed and implemented a state-of-the-art security plan," the statement reads. "We did this without the threat of a statute asserting negligence, without arming staff, and without statewide standards and plans. As our Interim Superintendent Dr. Kenny Southwick has stated, 'Arming teachers is not the answer.'"
Bonner Springs Superintendent Dan Brungardt sent the following statement to KSHB:
I believe that the legislators have their heart in the right place trying to make sure that all students and staff are safe.
I am concerned that if this legislation is passed that there might be fewer insurance companies willing to insure schools in Kansas, which could have a negative impact on insurance rates.
KSHB reports the Kansas City, Kansas district also opposes the bill.
KFDI News is reaching out to the Wichita School District to ask if they have any comment on the proposed bill in the Kansas House. You can read the full bill on the Kansas government website by clicking here.