Educators Take Aim at Controversial New Law

Educators Take Aim at Controversial New Law


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Sandra Yi reportingScott Berryessa/President, Jordan Education Association: "IT'S AMAZING TO ME THAT WE'RE EVEN HAVING THIS DEBATE OR THAT WE'RE EVEN DEALING WITH THIS PROBLEM."

Educators take aim at a controversial new law that allows guns in Utah's schools.

That law, which passed this legislative session, makes it a misdemeanor to bring a gun to school. Unless you have a concealed weapons permit.

Now school districts are forced to take another look at their weapons policies.

The Granite District Board of Education will talk about guns in schools during a meeting Tuesday night It's a hot topic facing all districts.

Martin Bates/Granite School District: "WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WEAPONS BEING ON SCHOOL GROUNDS BEING CARRIED BY PEOPLE OTHER THAN POLICE OFFICERS."

But now, anyone with a concealed-weapons permit can take a gun to school, forcing districts to revise their policies banning weapons.

The Granite district is the second in the state to address the issue.

This proposal - which board members will discuss tonight, would relieve the district of any liability if an employee, or even a student who qualified for a permit, used or threatened to use a gun. Teachers would also have to keep any firearm with them at all times and not be able to talk about carrying a gun or having a permit during school hours and activities.

Martin Bates/Granite School District: "IT IS IMPORTANT THAT EMPLOYEES KNOW THAT IT'S OUTSIDE OF THEIR SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT TO BRING A WEAPON TO WORK. THAT'S NOT A REQUIREMENT AND IF THEY CARRY SUCH A WEAPON, THEY'RE TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT OCCURS WITH THAT WEAPON."

A similar policy is in the works in the Jordan district.

Already, educators against the law are pushing for tougher language and penalties.

The Jordan Education Association president says teachers should be made to think twice about bringing a gun to school.

Scott Berryessa/President, JEA: "IT'S NOT LIKE OUR SCHOOLS ARE DANGEROUS THAT A TEACHER NEEDS TO HAVE A GUN THERE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. I JUST THINK GUNS IN SCHOOLS CREATE MORE PROBLEMS THEN THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO EVER RESOLVE."

The Jordan district's policy proposal currently says anyone who brings a gun to school does so as a private citizen, and not a district employee. Administrators say additions may follow.

Cal Evans/Jordan School District: "WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THE POSITION THIS PUTS THE DISTRICT IN BECAUSE EVERYBODY IS AFRAID THERE WILL BE SOME KIND OF SHOOT OUT IN THE SCHOOL AND WE JUST DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN."

There are several more steps before any policies are adopted. Other school districts, like the Salt Lake district, have yet to address the issue, but will likely do it soon.

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