Wyoming, US.- The Wyoming school district where U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested last year that teachers might need to be armed to protect children from grizzly bears is about to vote on doing just that, though concerns about school shootings worry parents more than the possibility of big bruins on the prowl.
Tuesday’s vote by the board of Park County School District No. 6 board in the town of Cody near Yellowstone National Park comes after more than six months of discussion and debate. Under the proposed policy, school employees would need to have at least 24 hours of firearms training and annual recertification to carry concealed guns at school.
In the midst of the Cody debate, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 killed 17 people but didn’t really change minds in northwest Wyoming about whether to arm teachers, parents said.
“I think people are really entrenched,” said Yancy Bonner, an opponent of arming teachers who said she may remove her fifth-grade daughter from the school district if the policy is approved.
The policy is up for a final vote after passing two earlier votes 5-2.
Nationwide, some districts are discussing arming teachers not with guns but buckets of rocks (Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania) and tiny baseball bats (Erie, Pennsylvania). But in some rural areas including much of Texas, school officials have been quietly arming teachers for years.
In January, 2017, DeVos said during her confirmation hearings that elementary school teachers in Wapiti, a small community about a half hour drive from Cody where Devos’ family owns land near the scenic North Fork of the Shone River downstream from Yellowstone, might already be armed against grizzlies.