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Lawmakers Looking To Arm Teachers Face Liability Limitations

by Countable | 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)


Written by Countable

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