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School leaders say they don’t want the option to allow guns

Nov 18, 2015

Credit flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Local education officials say it shouldn’t be up to them to decide whether to allow guns in schools.

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder told WJIM host Steve Gruber that he could support legislation to allow concealed weapons in schools if it left the decision up to local districts. He says he’d veto bills currently being debated in the state Legislature because they don’t give local schools a choice.

But the Michigan Association of School Administrators says local school boards aren’t equipped to handle those decisions.

“For many school board members, this might not be exactly what they signed on for. We’re talking about Second Amendment rights here and all types of things that might be out of their lane,” said MASA Executive Director Chris Wigent.

“I think when you have 550 districts and if they all decide to make differing decisions, what does that do? And what I sense is that there would be a lot of legal challenges both ways on that.”

MASA has already come out in favor of a statewide ban on guns in schools.

“We just do not feel weapons have a place in schools – around children and around teachers who are trying to educate those children,” said Wigent.

A group representing school boards across the state has long said it also supports a ban on guns in school. The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) has not formally adopted a position on a local option for guns.

But MASB Executive Director Don Wotruba echoed some of Wigent’s thoughts on the issue.

“Many of our local members feel that guns do not belong on their discussion table just like they don’t belong in our buildings,” said Wotruba.

Bills sitting on the state Senate floor would allow people to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones such as schools. But the legislation, Senate Bills 442 and 561, would also ban openly carrying weapons in those areas, which is currently allowed.