Superintendent in Michigan Considers Arming School Staff Due to Long Response Times
A superintendent is not satisfied with the amount of time it would take the sheriff's office to reach the town's only campus. In his response, he wants to arm teachers.
- By Sherelle Black
- September 20, 2019
Every second counts in an emergency situation, especially during a mass shooting, which on average lasts seven minutes.
In the Addison School District, it takes between 13 to 38 minutes for any of the three county sheriff’s department to get to the main school building, Superintendent Steve Gurra told The Detroit Times.
“Both of those numbers are unacceptable," Guerra said. "A school shooting is over in seven minutes. We are looking at other opportunities to keep our kids and staff safe."
For reference, the Sandy Hook shooting lasted about 5 minutes and the Parkland shooting was about 6 minutes.
Lenawee County Sheriff Troy Bevier said he disagrees with the response time given by Guerra, stating that it is between zero and 35 minutes, depending on the closest sheriff’s car.
Knowing students would potentially have to wait possibly up to 38 minutes for help to arrive has prompted Guerra to consider other options such as arming school staff.
"I personally think that it would be a good idea," Guerra said. "As the CEO and superintendent of my district, I can’t guarantee 100% safety in my district. Would employees carrying guarantee? No. It would reduce casualties."
If the district should move forward with the policy, it would be the first one in the state to allow teachers to carry guns.
While the state does allow anyone to carry on school grounds with approved consent from the school’s authority, the state superintendent and the state’s largest teachers union, reported TDN.
While the district is mulling over the potential policy change, Guerra did say the district spent the summer adding 60 security cameras and reinforcing nearly 130 school windows with security film.
Other school districts such as Ann Arbor and Clio in Michigan are doing the exact opposite and prohibiting anyone other than law enforcement from carrying, according to TDN.
"Well-intended people, even those with gun training, are just like everyone else, prone to make mistakes," Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift said to TDN. "When a parent forgets a jacket or a gun falls out of a pocket at school, it could cost a child’s life."
Guerra said he has already talked to the district’s attorney and its insurance company.
"We need to decide whether we are going to do it or not," Guerra said. "You look at last month. How many mass shootings we've had. In Alabama, there was one at a Friday night football game," Guerra said.
"We have to do something. This is one way for me to try to do something."