(CBS Seattle) — Eleven school administrators in one eastern Washington school district will be carrying guns on campus when the new school year begins this fall, according to The Yakima Herald.
The volunteer group of administrators from Yakima Valley’s Toppenish School District will reportedly undergo thorough background checks and receive 16 hours of firearms training in order to carry their own weapons during hours in which classes are in session. Members will also be expected to wear bullet-resistant vests.
Superintendent John Cerna and several principals and vice-principals make up the group, no teachers volunteered to be armed.
The decision to arm campus officials comes in light of growing gun violence in academic settings. On Thursday, a shooting took place on Seattle Pacific University’s campus in which one man died and two others were injured. There have been at least 44 school shootings since the deadly 2012 shooting on the campus of Sandy Hook Elementary.
“I don’t mind giving my life if I have a fighting chance,” Cerna told the Yakima Herald when asked about the possibility of responding to a school shooting.
Cerna cites long wait times for police response as reason to be prepared to respond to a school threat.
While there is praise for the Toppenish School District’s course of action, it is far from criticism. Opponents to the move believe adding more artillery to a school setting can only increase the chances of more violent attacks because of the accessibility to more weapons.
Toppenish isn’t the only school district in the Yakima Valley with a policy allowing school officials to arm themselves. Last September, the Prosser School District adopted the same policy that was later approved in Toppenish. But unlike Toppenish, Prosser hasn’t carried it out.
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