Special Report: Armed in the Classroom

Special Report: Armed in the Classroom

WEST PLAINS, Mo. - The Iberia R-V School District in Miller County will review the results of a policy survey on March 6, asking the community for its thoughts on the question of arming teachers and faculty in its school buildings.

In 2014, the Missouri legislature passed a law that allows local school districts to approve trained staff members to concealed carry weapons on school grounds, an action previously outlawed by the state.

Shield Solutions LLC in West Plains is a certified training center that offers teachers a way to receive training on how to respond to and combat an active shooter.

CEO Greg Martin said demand for this kind of training peaks every time a school shooting happens across the country.

"We see an influx of curiosity," said Martin. "Board members get to talk about it. Right now, it's a hot topic and everybody's got an opinion on it. We're getting a ton of people asking about the program."

To participate in one of the training courses, one must pass a criminal background check, a drug test and a mental assessment. 

Trainees also must undergo the initial 40-hour training course followed by three 8-hour follow up courses each year.

Martin said training is paramount for a teacher who plans to carry a weapon in a school.

"It's a human nature that when we hear shots to go down or run away," said Martin. "We're having to train people who are in an educational field to run towards gunfire. That's something that they've never done before. Without the training, to me, it's a disaster."

According to Martin, an untrained, armed teacher makes the situation more dangerous instead of safer.



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