Following the recent shootings in Florida and Kentucky, educators and policymakers across the country are asking questions about school safety and security. Last year Wyoming’s state legislature made it possible for local school boards to decide as a community whether or not to arm trained staff.
Jillian Balow, the State Superintendent for Public Instruction, said in response to the passing of that legislation she convened a statewide ad-hoc committee to develop non-regulatory guidance for communities, released September 2017.
She said she had two main goals: “Number one, for it to be a community-based discussion, and number two, for it to be as far away from the political table as possible.” Balow added, “the non-regulatory guidance gave some guidance on what stakeholders should have at the table during those discussions so that it stays focused on the issue of school security and safety.”
Balow said she wants school boards to create effective policy and steer clear of divisive politics. “One of my fears is that armed personnel in school would become a reason that someone ran for school board or someone didn’t run for school board,” said Balow. “So it needs to be seen and remain as a tool and as a piece of school safety and security, and not a political issue.”
School boards across the state have already started shaping policy, including Uinta County School District #1, Park #6 and Fremont #1. Superintendent Balow said the committee on school safety and security will continue to revisit this issue.
The Wyoming Department of Education has more information about the committee and the non-regulatory guidance.