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Campbell County School District Admin Updates On Gun Policy, Resource Officers

Campbell County School District

The Campbell County School District administrators updated school board members on the potential armed educators policy at its Tuesday meeting.

Campbell County board members, administrators and others have been working on a policy draft that would set the rules for allowing district staff to carry guns in schools.

The board approved the district to start working on the policy this past September after several months of consideration.

Campbell County School District Deputy Superintendent Kirby Eisenhauer said the draft is nearly finished.

"What we've come up with is a six-page policy, 22 pages of regulations, that's divided up into five different sections. We will expose what the application would like if the board approves the policy moving forward. People would know what is expected of the people who might be considered for being armed," he said.

The district's committees on the issue have met 10 times and looked at similar policies from districts in Fremont and Park Counties. Eisenhauer said Campbell County also sought legal advice from the lawyer who helped to write those policies.

In the past year, the district has held public meetings and posted community-wide surveys on the issue. Eisenhauer said the feedback has been incorporated into the draft.

"We included many of those concerns or questions and I think people will be pleased with the effort we put into it. We're trying to recognize the balance between the two and some of high expectations that we should have for someone that should we allow them to carry a firearm in our schools," he said.

Administrators will present the policy to the board at its next meeting on Jan. 28, though the public will be able to read the policy on Jan. 23 to prepare for the meeting.

The board plans to hold three readings of policy before it could be passed, though the subsequent readings would depend on a passing vote.

"Three readings isn't something we are required to do...We want to make sure we heard everybody and make good decisions about what we hear and what we know," Eisenhauer said.

Over the next few months, the district will host listening sessions for public comment, as well as post a comment form online for additional feedback.

Eisenhauer said the final vote and last time to publicly comment would likely be in April.

In addition to working on the armed educator policy, district administrators have been meeting with city and county officials to get more school resource officers in the district's schools.

While the board has committed to funding the positions, Eisenhauer said finding qualified staff has been challenging.

"With retirements and some turnover, often times [Gillette Police Department and Campbell County Sheriff's Office] run short-handed as well. The money is the easy part this time. It's finding the right people to do those things," he said.

Eisenhauer said the district is working on a memo of understanding with both groups, and they'll hopefully be able to hire more officers soon.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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