Hanover votes to allow teachers to be armed

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HANOVER, Colo. (KKTV) - Teachers will be allowed to carry guns at one southern Colorado school district.

The Hanover School Board voted 3 to 2 Wednesday night to allow trained teachers and staff members to carry concealed handguns.

The board president tells us the soonest he thinks teachers could be armed is next August, around the start of the next school year.

The resolution goes into effect right away. However, now the board will hammer out the details, including the specific training teachers will need.

Some supporters say it can take too long for emergency responders to reach the schools in Hanover. They say this will help keep kids safe.

But one detractor argued the same reason made her against more guns on campus.

"It's our school and our children. And everybody's like half an hour away, so if something happens, it would take that long to get here," parent Tonya Smith said.

Other opponents expressed worries there won't be enough training.

We talked to the board president, who was against the idea.

"I really wish that it had gone the other way because that's kind of the way that I feel and that's the way that my constituents have come to me and said that they don't support arming staff," said school board President Mark McPherson.

"We're all going to have to come together and work together to put together the policies and the programs and the training to ensure that this is done correctly so that there's absolutely no risk to our students," he added.

"I fully support it," said Terry Siewiyumptwa, a parent. "It's the beginning step. It's the first step. I definitely will watch what the policy says and what the regulation says."

Another parent, Monica Peach, told 11 News before the vote that were the resolution to pass, she'd consider transferring her son out of the district.

"I'm not comfortable with it. So many things can go wrong with anybody having a gun there. There could be kids that find out where it's hidden or who has it, and something could happen."

Smith believed more parents and faculty should be given a say.

"Something this serious ... this shouldn't be something just five people decide."

We also spoke to board member Michael Lawson, who proposed the idea.

"I'm excited that we're moving forward," Lawson said. "I definitely want the community members involved in everything that we do from here forward on this policy aspect."

"I feel it was the right move for the kids, I feel it was the right move for the district, and I feel it was the right move for the taxpayer and the citizens," he said.

Now Lawson hopes to ease parents' concerns with how the district will proceed.

"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel out here. What we want to do is we want to follow the procedures that are already currently in place with other schools and working, and we just kind of want to mirror those.

"The [training] requirements through the insurance companies are very stringent. The requirements of the law truly leave it up to the insurance companies, and again, as a school board, when we write these policies, we can make them more stringent than the insurance companies. It's not just something that you can say, 'Oh, I got to go take my post-certification shooting test' and then pass it."

He tells us there's a lot to be done.

"I'm happy that it passed, but now we've got to go to work," Lawson added.