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Lawmakers Looking To Arm Teachers Face Liability Limitations

by Countable | Updated on 4.2.18

What’s the story?

  • In the wake of the Parkland, FL school shooting, multiple states are contemplating legislation to train and arm teachers and other school personnel. But even states who legalized the concept years ago are running into limitations imposed by liability insurers, affecting their ability to enact those laws.

  • If insurance companies won’t cover school districts who arm teachers, what happens next?

What’s happening in different states?

  • Kansas enacted a law enabling concealed carry of handguns for teachers in 2013, after the shooting in Sandy Hook. EMC Insurance Companies, which insures most districts in the state, refused to insure any district with armed teachers in the classroom, stating, "EMC has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises pose a heightened liability risk." No district has enacted the law and faced losing liability insurance.

  • Kansas lawmakers are now considering a law making it illegal for insurance companies to withdraw coverage, and would make districts liable for not arming teachers. Litigation would likely follow, and some lawmakers fear companies would leave the state.

  • In Oregon, schools that arm teachers pay higher premiums. $1,500 per year for each armed individual who has military training or equivalent experience, is a member of a city or county law enforcement agency and is certified by the Department of Public Safety Standards. Department certification alone costs the school $2,500 for that individual per year.

  • Florida recently approve arming teachers, but education officials concede it will involve more liability, and likely higher insurance costs.

  • Teachers in California and Georgia in recent months discharged firearms in the absence of school shooters. In the California incident, three students were injured.

  • Kenneth Trump [no relation] of National School Safety and Security Services stated to NBC, "While a lot of these approaches from arming teachers and having kids engage heavily armed gunman to many other knee jerk unproven practices meet emotional security needs, the devil is always in the details of implementation and many of these approaches bring great risk or unintended consequences."

  • A small, rural Texas district, Callisburg Independent School District, was able to implement arming teachers without an increase of insurance premiums, but the superintendent acknowledged that they have limited access to prompt police presence.

What do you think?

Do you support arming teachers, even if it means ongoing higher insurance costs for districts? Should lawmakers be able to obligate insurers to cover districts that arm teachers? If costs go up, who should cover the increases -- school boards, states, the federal government?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(73)
  • Matthew
    04/02/2018
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    I work in public schools and I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to this idiotic idea. More guns is not the answer!!! What is really disturbing about all this idiocracy is that all of a sudden they have extra money to pay teachers that volunteer. WTF?!?!?!? If you really care about education YOU WOULD FULLY FUND EDUCATION AND SUPPORT COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS!!!! Heaven help us all from all these gun nut idiots . . .

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  • BeStrong
    04/03/2018
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    NO Arming Teachers or Staff in school. As gun sales falter, the NRA seeks a fresh fear market, and our students have been offered up. We have lost our damn minds. NO GUNS ON CAMPUS!

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  • OlderNWiser
    04/03/2018
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    Arming teachers is idiotic. Ever hear of friendly fire? Simplistic thinking that shooters would be deterred from the NRA no doubt. The NRA is very concerned for our children’s welfare? Or for profits accompanying needless deaths?

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  • Loretta
    04/02/2018
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    The only people who think that arming teachers is a good idea are people who are NOT CERTIFIED Degree holding Teachers! I am a teacher and would not want to be armed if asked nor do I wish to teach with others who are armed.I hold 2 Degrees in Education one is an undergraduate degree and the other is a Masters in Ed. I have taken many other graduate courses in pursuit of excellence in my teaching...somehow Weapons/Sharpshooting were not on any course requirement for teacher certification and it never should be...not even for those who may have to shoot a bear. But in every town and city with schools there are also Police and law enforcement officers who are (hopefully) as well trained as teachers, leaving them to be the ones who put the officers in schools...if at all! Ask any parent or teacher in any of the towns affected by this and they will probably agree DON'T ARM TEACHERS! NOT OUR JOB AND SHOULD NOT BE!

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  • Dara
    04/02/2018
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    This is more assnine swamp. Schools should NEVER be armed. This is another way for insurance companies to raise premiums from sorry ass legislators who won’t pass simple gun legislation. The habitual liar occupying the White House and the negligent congress need to do their jobs, protect the citizenry.

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  • Matthew
    04/02/2018
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    Forcing private companies to cover something they know is a bad idea? What a big laugh to the face of democracy and Capitalism

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  • NoHedges
    04/02/2018
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    My main question is why the top legislative minds in America are unable to screen legislation for legal implications. 😱 Law school anyone? This repeated issue of not being able to pre-screen new legislation for possible complications would suggest a lack of competence on Congress' part. 👹Not that I am a proponent of arming teachers in the 1st place. Mostly, because an untrained teacher with a hand gun IS NOT going to stop an active shooter and is more of a liability than anything else. 🚥 Regardless, the absence of proactive leadership in congress is costing the tax payer billions in salaries. 👺 At minimum, the NRA needs to have its legal team throughly vet these types of legislation initiatives. Especially since it is the NRA who is the pushing to arm teachers in the 1st place.

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  • John
    04/03/2018
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    The point is fewer guns, not more guns. Guns are the one thing in common in all these attacks. Stop arguing about everything but the root cause of the problem.

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  • Karan
    04/02/2018
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    The full point of arming teachers is to discourage potential school shooters. If a potential school shooter knows that the victims are armed, chances are he won’t attack the school. And if he does, well at least teachers (who voluntarily get trained armed) will have a fighting chance.

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  • James
    04/02/2018
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    There are plenty of insurance companies that will! The school districts will have to switch insurance companies! And don’t say it’s not easy! School teachers are lining up for conceal carry classes across the country as they are being offered free for them! Chicago teachers are backlogged for conceal carry and gun training classes and companies are coming in from outside of Illinois to help with the back up! I don’t live in Illinois but just north of it! I talked to a State trooper in my state who also teaches both gun safety and marksmanship but conceal carry on the side! There are a lot of school teachers suddenly out buying side arms, taking up shooting and gun safety classes and conceal carry classes! Go figure that out young Mr. Hogg!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Sara
    04/03/2018
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    So, I guess instead of arming individuals in the school to insure the safety of our children, it makes more sense to throw rocks at shooters like one idiotic school district proposed here in PA, or to just let children and staff be sitting ducks. Or, maybe we could just say nice things to the shooter and he would stop. What are your actual plans to stop an in-progress shooting. Haven't heard or seen one yet, just nonsense about how arming staff is wrong. But, seriously, what's your proposal?

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  • Christine
    04/02/2018
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    Stupid suggestion for a law. Teachers should NOT be armed.

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  • Heather
    04/02/2018
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    We should absolutely not arm teachers - what a ridiculous idea. The answer to our gun problem isn’t more guns.

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  • Jim2423
    04/02/2018
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    This has to be the DUMBEST bill or idea ever. This needs to be left up to the Governor of each state to work with law enforcement and the schools. Feds need to stay out before you waste money and time. Give states more money also for more School councilors.

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  • Azrael
    04/02/2018
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    Oh and, what are you doing about Sinclair media?

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  • Ray
    04/03/2018
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    All these knee jerk reactions are only helping the gun manufacturers and sellers. What ever happened to common sense?

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  • Truly
    04/02/2018
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    Anybody doing something overly dangerous has to pay higher insurance. Smokers, motorcyclists, even regular drivers have to have a special auto insurance. Gun owners and anyone carrying a gun should also need special insurance. And if a company decides they are too much of a risk, they should have the option of raising rates or refusing service. Strange how the republicans think it is a companies right to refuse service to people based on race or sex, but think guns an gun toters should have protections from discrimination.

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  • JTJ
    04/02/2018
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    School districts should not be giving teachers guns, but permit holding teachers should be allowed to carry at school. As for liability insurance, switch companies.

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  • Rick
    04/03/2018
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    NOBODY has advocated arming "untrained" teachers. The proximate cause of all of these shootings is the so-called "gun-free zone." All of these shootings were carried out by calculating individuals that purposefully identified and chose to attack unarmed, unprotected persons in "gun-free zones!" The attackers knew they would be unopposed for a long enough period of time to do their dirty work. "Gun-Free Zones" trench on the individual's natural right to defend themselves. The only people that are without self-defense in the "gun-free zone" are law-abiding persons and persons with disabilities (children and those not qualified). "gun-Free Zones" actually violate the 2nd Amendment which guarantees the individual's right to defend themselves by guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms. By preventing qualified persons from even having their arms in some places (their car in the parking lot or passing through the "gun-free zone"), they purport to prevent them from having their arms in most places! That vitiates the right recognized by the 2nd Amendment almost completely by virtue of impermissibly narrowing the unlimited guarantee recognized in the Constitution! Every qualified person that desires to carry their means of self defense and protection should be allowed to do so anywhere they go. We recognize that there are some places of great sensitivity and permit them some degree of regulation. By way of example, courtrooms are regulated. However, courtrooms are NOT "gun-free zones!" Courtrooms have significant protection by officers of the court who carry guns! Airports are another such case. If we have learned nothing else by these mass shooting cases, and the Stoneman Douglas in particular, it is that adequate protection has not been provided in most schools! The government is not able to protect us! I must note the case in Maryland a few weeks after Douglas, where a shooter was put down by a police officer on site before he could harm many people, but he did succeed in killing what appears to have been his primary target because courtroom- or TSA-like controls were not in place to protect a concentrated population of unarmed and defenseless persons. If qualified persons desire to carry their arms and submit to appropriate and regular ongoing training, they should be allowed to carry their arms and employ them when necessary. More than one adult died at Douglas trying to defend the students. Imagine what might have been had those heroes had the means to effectively counter the assailant. It is highly likely that the assailant would not have even made the attempt had he known that potential opposition would be present. The whole thing would not have occurred had the Sheriff's Office and the School District not valued certain federal government grants more than the lives of their charges and the maintenance of law and order in the schools! These greedy and misguided officials agreed among themselves, as authorized by the School Board, to participate in a Department of Justice program that turned a blind eye to crimes committed in school so as to prevent the thugs who committed those crimes from being properly punished and having a criminal record. They prevented the creation of the very record that would have prevented the killer from obtaining a firearm in the first place! Maybe he might even have received help had he been properly charged and punished for his earlier crimes! At least he would have had a criminal record and been prevented from obtaining his firearms. Where access to so-called "gun-free zones" is not closely guarded by people having guns, trouble is available to occur! In such cases, we take the risk of trouble by leaving the valuables unguarded! In this day and age, where media and video games constantly pound the notion into vulnerable minds that violence is an appropriate response to all of one's problems! The answer is not in punishing law-abiding gun owners. The answer is in punishing the criminals and protecting the valuables. Where government cannot or will not do the job, willing qualified law abiding persons must be given half a chance. By the way, let's stop using false information. The rifle used was not an "assault rifle!" Nor was it a military weapon. It was a fairly standard semi-automatic rifle like the kind used by millions of law-abiding persons every day to protect their herds from predators, to defend their families and property, to practice their skills and enjoy competition, and to hunt. And let's not limit my ability to defend myself by limiting the number of bullets I have access to, either at home or in the field. I am now old and disabled. I cannot run like I was able to do when I was young, and even then could not outrun many threats -- the only choice I have is to stand and fight! Don't you dare tell me that I cannot have high capacity magazines to use. My life could be at stake!

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  • Lauren
    04/03/2018
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    The idea of arming teachers is so pathetically ignorant it’s hard to stomach. To those who say ‘oh schools are a soft target which is why they are attacked’... um, have you already forgotten about the nightclubs, arenas, churches, etc, etc, etc that have been host to mass shootings?!!! Name 1 country that has had success with arming teachers ?!! The ONLY success stories are those countries who drastically changed gun laws after mass shootings (ex: Australia, Scotland). And for those ‘gun nuts’ on here proposing that the issue is too few guns in the hands of teachers....have you researched about the physiological affect fear has on humans?? NO one- not even an armed and trained officer can know exactly what their response would be in a life or death situation. We have to simply make it much harder for people to get their hands on guns!!

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