Guards at Emporia middle, high schools now carrying guns - KCTV5

Guards at Emporia middle, high schools now carrying guns

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EMPORIA, KS (KCTV) -

Guards at Emporia's middle and high schools are now armed, and this change has sparked controversy.

The Emporia School Board voted in January to arm its guards at the middle school and high school. This new policy began on Friday.

This comes in the wake of the tragic school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. Emporia's school board is not putting armed guards at its elementary schools, but will consider doing so in the future.

Previously, school employees including guards weren't allowed to bring weapons onto campuses. Because of the change, the two security guards who patrol the middle and high school campuses now must meet additional job requirements. This includes having three years of law enforcement experience, scoring a 70 percent on a shooting accuracy test and receiving 20 hours of training annually.

The two current guards meet the requirements.

The Emporia board's decision was unanimous, but not before hearing debate on both sides from parents and others.

"I support the idea that they should have some armed security at the high school level. After the thing in Connecticut even the grade schools also," Lane Ryno said at the time of the debate.

While the new policy drew much support, some parents fear that districts aren't doing enough to keep students safe.

June Hubert opposed the measure, saying the district should first take additional steps before arming guards.

"I think we need to identify bullies, I think we need to identify kids who get bullied," she said.

KCTV5's DeAnn Smith contributed to this report.

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