Group wants Boone County Schools to allow arming staff

Group wants Boone County Schools to allow arming staff
Published: Mar. 6, 2018 at 3:04 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2018 at 6:44 AM EST
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BOONE CO., KY (FOX19) - Supporters of a school safety program called "POST," that would arm school staff members, are planning to ask Boone County Schools to consider adopting the program.

The deadly 2018 shootings in Florida and Kentucky have prompted new discussions about the POST -- Protecting Our Students & Teachers -- program. Creators hosted a presentation on the program in Burlington Monday night. The Boone County Sheriff, Kenton County Sheriff and Grant County Sheriff have said they are partners of the program.

"The program actually models the armed pilot program," said Joe Kalil, a Boone County Constable and an organizer of the program.

Should a district adopt POST, about five percent of school staffers, ranging from teachers to principals to coaches, would end up armed. After submitting an application, doing an interview, passing a background check and getting a concealed carry license, they would voluntarily undergo five and a half days of firearm training.

"They would carry a concealed firearm at school so they can actually provide an immediate armed response to the shooter," Kalil said.

Organizers said they would like to be able to remove "no gun" signs from schools and replace them with signs that state there are armed staff members inside the building. The creators are adamant that they do not want to do away with other procedures or protocols, and instead, say they want to give trained personnel a shot at helping school resource officers shut down a shooter.

"We're only worried about one thing: the four to 10 minutes the shooter is actually in the school," Kalil said.

There are a lot of layers to the program, which has led to a lot of questions. Not everyone is convinced that POST is the right move or the safest one. Some parents said they worry it could lead to kids getting hurt accidentally, or could lead to a student being misidentified as a shooter.

"If you influx firearms and instruments of harm into the school, then you're more at risk of a shooting or a misfire," said Jesse Parks, a Boone County parent and candidate for state representative. "Why leave it up to a teacher whose main job is to teach to become a criminal investigator to figure out who is the person they're supposed to de-holster the firearm for?"

Parents unsure about POST or against POST have said they would rather see locked doors, metal detectors, and more officers as a way to improve safety.

Despite any opposition, supporters plan to take the idea to the next level. A group of parents is attending a Boone County school board meeting Thursday where they will ask board members to set up a time to view a presentation on POST. Then, they hope to ask the board to adopt the program and make any changes deemed necessary.

The board briefly talked about POST in 2014, but never implemented the program.

There have been several school threats in Boone County in the past few weeks. The sheriff's office charged six students with terroristic threatening and disorderly conduct between Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. The sheriff also added school resource officers to all Boone Co. schools in February. Before that, SROs were only at the high schools and middle schools.

To read more about the POST program, including logistical information, specifics and details on funding, visit the program's website.

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