The Campbell County School Board will be hosting public listening sessions on a proposed policy that would allow staff to carry guns in schools.
The policy proposal comes after months of consideration from the community, school board and district.
The school district's committee on the topic has spent the last several months devising the policy. The administration published the draft of the policy last week before reviewing it at the latest school board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Deputy Superintendent Kirby Eisenhauer said the policy and regulations would only allow staff to conceal and carry at the six schools outside of city limits of Gillette and Wright. He said that decision comes down to law enforcement response times.
"We feel like if we can have more coverage with our SROs [school resource officers] inside of our communities of Wright and Gillette, then now, maybe, is not the appropriate time to look at conceal carry inside of in-town and in-city schools," he said.
The district has been working with the Gillette Police Department and the Campbell County Sheriff's Office to increase the number of SROs in junior high and high schools in both Gillette and Wright.
"There's a requirement that you have to have a minimum of five years of in-district work experience, and hopefully in the course of that work history, we would have a good feel for the judgement of that person and how they behave," he said.
The proposed policy also includes live and scenario-based training requirements, drug testing and psychological evaluation.
Under the proposed policy, staff who are approved to conceal and carry would be responsible for owning their gun and holster. Though, both would need to fit into what is allowed in the regulations.
At Tuesday's school board meeting, several board members said they were impressed with the thoroughness of the policy.
"This is amazingly well done… If we find anyone who is even willing to try out for this, they are exceedingly gifted in what they are going to do. They are outstanding citizens," said school board member Linda Bricker.
Board Chair Anne Ochs said the board and administration will continue to look for other ways to increase safety in schools. She added she looks forward to hearing public comment on the proposed policy.
"We're trying to be as open and encouraging with public comment as we can get. Every comment counts, and we really want to know what the community feels," Ochs said.
There will be three public listening sessions on the proposed policy: Tuesday, Feb. 4 and March 3 at 6:00 pm and April 14 at 5:30 pm. Those meetings will all take place in the Educational Services Center in Gillette and will be available for streaming 24 hours later on Gillette Public Access television.
The district has also posted an online comment form.
The board plans to hold its final vote in April.
Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at firstname.lastname@example.org.