High school staff allowed to carry guns in 3 California districts

KINGSBURG, Calif. -- The new school year starts with a big question at one central California high school and the question is: Who is carrying a gun?

Kingsburg High School near Fresno is now one of three school districts in the state where staff members are allowed to carry a gun. Earlier this year, the district approved allowing up to five school personnel to be armed.

The district has limited it to no more than five and the weapons, along with their identities, must be concealed.

The 1,000 students at Kingsburg High are being protected by up to five secretly armed teachers or staff members and School Superintendent Randy Morris is behind the plan.

"We want to protect our students and staff and our school community," Morris said.

Only employees who have Concealed Carry Weapons Permits issued by the Sheriff's Department and have undergone training and personnel evaluations are allowed to be armed and they could take action before police arrive in the event of danger.

"We are not trying to take the place of law enforcement officials who spend hours upon hours training for these situations," Morris said. "All we are trying to do is limit or eliminate actual casualties during that response time."

School senior Richard Schoelles is okay with having armed staff at the school.

"I feel like it if it makes most people feel safer then it's a good thing," he said. "I mean if there is a shooting they can be stopped so I don't think it's a bad thing."

Recent graduate Thomas Osten is okay with the policy but said it might not work.

"If someone really wants to do something bad at the school they are going to do it either way and having teachers carry guns, well it could protect the students, but it could be a negative effect," he said. "Because if the guy doesn't know how to shoot and he gets shot, someone could take the gun and use that as well."

Jason Coddington has two daughters at Kingsburg High.

"Kingsburg doesn't sound like the kind of town where something bad like that could happen," he said. "But I think they say that about other towns that it's happened. I would say its probably okay with me to have them carry."

Kingsburg is a quiet town of 11,000 and lifelong resident Ingrid Schwedler knows times have changed and supports having guns on campus.

"We've come to the point in the way we live that we need protection if they know how to use the guns," she said.
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