St. Louis-area schools not likely to allow guns

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Many superintendents in the St. Louis area say they don't want guns in their schools despite a new state law allowing designated staff to carry them.

Last week, the state Legislature overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the bill that gives school districts the ability to appoint "school safety officers," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reported. The chosen teachers and administrators can undergo training, and then carry the concealed weapons on school property.

The state's school districts aren't required to enforce the law, Clayton School District spokesman Chris Tennill said, and there may not be any situation that would cause Clayton to consider appointing the school protection officers. Most superintendents and school district representatives agreed, saying they will continue to rely on law enforcement.

"I don't see the need," said Eric Knost, superintendent of Rockwood schools. "We have police officers in schools. We have buzzer systems in schools. We have heightened alerts."

Missouri is the 10th state to pass a law regarding armed school officials since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Otto Fajen, legislative director for the Missouri National Education Association, testified against the bill and said it would be a mistake for schools to arm teachers in a classroom setting.

"It's an option that doesn't seem to hold much other than the likelihood of liability and problems," he said.

Mark Penny, superintendent of the Troy school district in Lincoln County, thinks there are better ways to make schools safer. Holding routine drills and establishing good relationships with the local police department are effective, according to Penny.

"There are lots of ramifications of arming teachers," he said. "We're in the education business. We're not in the security business."

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