|School Administrators Seeking Legal Opinion on Concealed Carry Gun Permit|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00|
Tipp City schools’ administrators are seeking a legal opinion on whether those with a concealed carry gun permit can be armed in the Board of Education building, and if employees in general can be armed.
Board members Scott Dixon and Tom Merritt questioned at the Jan. 3 meeting if the Board of Education building falls under state law banning weapons in schools. A sign on the building door now states it is illegal to have a gun in the building.
The board agreed after the discussion, during which members expressed mixed views, to seek a legal opinion on that issue.
Although not discussed at the Jan. 3 meeting, Superintendent John Kronour said the legal opinion request also includes legality of arming employees. The topics will be discussed at a future meeting although Kronour said he is not sure if it will be at the next meeting, Jan. 28.
At the Jan. 3 meeting, board members Merritt and Dixon said they don’t think the Board of Education building that houses administrative offices and the board meeting room should be included in the ban since they see it as an administrative versus educational facility.
The board discussed the question of guns on the property for more than 15 minutes before agreeing to request an opinion from the district’s lawyers. The discussion came a few weeks after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings in which 20 students and six adults were killed.
Dixon and Merritt told fellow board members they had been talking and did some research before bringing the topic up at the meeting. Dixon said the concealed carry laws allow someone to carry in a school with the permission of the school board.
Dixon and Merritt said their concern with the board office is that the no guns posting may be inappropriately prohibiting someone from carrying when they could be by law. “It stops someone from protecting themselves,” Dixon said.
“I think if they are legally allowed to, it should be allowed,” Merritt said.
Kronour said he was not with the district when the signs were posted. Treasurer Joe Smith said he thought all district buildings were posted at the same time to comply with the law and did not think there was specific board action on any sign postings.
Board member Kate Johnsen asked if there was a reason the district should allow a concealed weapon in the building, and asked how often children are in the board building.
“If we are in the business of doing business with children in this building, I don’t think we need to (allow concealed weapons),’” Johnsen said.
Dixon said it isn’t like the board would be encouraging people to carry a weapon. “I would not want to discourage them if they are concerned about personal protection,” he said.
Gretta Kumpf, assistant superintendent, said children at times are at the building for assessments during the summer.
She added that, from a practical standpoint, parents often visit the board office and are sent to individual buildings. If they carried a concealed weapon with them, they would have to remember to remove it before entering a school, Kumpf said.
Kronour said he had been thinking a lot about the issue of guns in schools. “My concern is having guns around children,” he said. “Yes, there is a protection factor but there also is lot of things that can go wrong. That is my concern.”
He said at times people who come to the board office to complain are very unhappy. “They maybe are not always in the most positive frame of mind. I don’t know if I like the idea of them coming in with a weapon,” Kronour said.
“If my goal was to do that, would some sign help?” Dixon asked.
Board member Carla Frame asked why the board was debating the issue. “Leave the sign up. What you just said is they are going to do what they want to do. I don’t see a reason to change,” she said.