School District Disavows Liability Over Guns

School District Disavows Liability Over Guns

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A draft Jordan School District policy disavows liability for whatever use district employees may make of the guns the Legislature has decreed they may carry into schools. Calvin Evans, the district's executive director of compliance and special programs, brought the proposal to the school board during a work session Tuesday.

"I never thought I'd be doing research on a policy about how to accommodate guns in schools," Evans said.

The board will discuss the policy at its next meeting, and it will be up for adoption at the following meeting.

Other districts also are drafting policies in response to a law enacted this year that says holders of concealed-weapons permits may carry their guns into schools.

Jordan's draft policy says any use of a weapon for reasons other than self-defense or to protect others from deadly force is unlawful, making the gun-carrier subject to being fired.

It says those who use their weapon on school grounds do so as individuals, not district employees, and will face ensuing consequences on their own.

"The point of this policy is if you use (a weapon), you are not authorized as an employee of this district," Superintendent Barry Newbold said.

He said the policy would place legal hurdles in front of anyone filing a wrongful injury claim against the district.

"It's a prudent way for the board to reduce their risk and liability in the event a concealed-weapon holder brings and chooses to use the weapon," Newbold said.

The public has nothing to fear from law-abiding concealed-weapons holders, especially teachers, said Clark Aposhian, a firearms instructor and chairman of the Utah Self Defense Instructor's Network.

"A teacher with a concealed weapon is probably the safest person walking around in society," he said. "You have an educated subset of people with no criminal history. You've got a safe person that's going to act with decorum in every situation."

He declined to say whether his wife, a Jordan District teacher, carries a concealed weapon.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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