What do Idahoans really care about? While Idaho is 49th in per pupil spending nationwide, it ranks Number 1 in weapons in schools, according to a recently released report by the Education Commission of the States. The report broke down weapons in schools policies into four areas, all of which showed Idaho to be the stand-alone state qualifying in each of the following categories:
- A policy that allows school security personnel to carry weapons
- A policy that allows other employees to carry weapons
- A policy that allows concealed carry permit holders to carry weapons
- Policies that allow schools or districts to give individuals permission to carry weapons
By law, Idaho local school boards can implement firearm policies such as permitting authorized (gun-licensed) employees to carry weapons.
As Betsy Devos’ Federal Commission on School Safety examines school safety, this summer, Idaho school superintendents and trustees will be securing safety measures that may even include adding more guns in the schools. “Currently, at least four Idaho schools either allow certain staffers to conceal their own firearms or grant access to school-owned guns in emergencies.” In May, a North Idaho school district hired an armed guard for one of its elementary schools and anticipates more armed guards to be stationed at other of its schools.
When local school students across the nation, including Idaho students, walked out of schools in March to make a statement about gun violence, the Idaho legislature and Governor Otter quickly seized on their energy and of those gathered at the state Capitol to expand a current law about school threats to include threats of violence made off campus. “Threats would be misdemeanors; showing up with a deadly weapon in furtherance of the threat would be a felony.” “This is a good first step, but there is still more work to do,” said Rep. Brent Crane.