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Bement School Board endorses resolution to allow arming teachers

The resolution changes the state's concealed carry law to allow teachers to carry guns at schools. (WCCU)

Bement Community Unit School District endorsed a resolution that changes the state's concealed carry law to allow teachers to carry guns at schools.

The district is the first in Piatt County to pass the resolution four to three. The superintendent, Sheila Greenwood, said the motion would give districts control when it comes to strengthening school safety.

"Guns with teachers will not make me feel safer,” sophomore at Bement High School, Braden Fogerson said. "It's a responsibility that [teachers] shouldn't have to deal with, we can come up with legislation that would work better to find a solution.”

Some think otherwise.

"It's just one of those things where you want to take every precaution that you can,” Greenwood said. “It does not by any means mean that schools are going to have concealed carry even if they pass the resolution. It's basically just trying to get local control to the school boards.”

The district's security measures includes cameras, buzz-in systems and school shooting drills.

"I don't see a need for [teachers to carry guns],” parent, Danielle Carver said. ”Bement is a really safe school, everybody knows everybody and everybody knows everything that's going on.”

Greenwood said while many teachers do not support the resolution, the vote was not taken with the intent for school staff to carry firearms.

"We're in a unique situation because we're in a rural area and the amount of time it takes for us to get first responders here or emergency medical care can sometimes be quite lengthy,” Greenwood said.

The resolution will go to the Illinois Association of School Boards which would then give them a chance to legislate and lobby for a change in the law.

Greenwood said she hopes they never have to see the day teachers would have to carry guns, but if they do – “A lot of planning would take place, a lot of training and it would be very quiet because people wouldn't know who's carrying the guns,” Greenwood said.

Deland-Weldon School District in Piatt County also passed the resolution on Tuesday voting four to one. Greenwood said all of the county's school districts will have a school resource officer next school year.

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