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Rural Oklahoma school district allowing staff to carry firearms

HARTSHORNE, Okla. – It’s a controversial policy that school officials in one Oklahoma district say will keep students safe.

The Hartshorne Public Schools Board of Education unanimously voted last month to allow personnel to carry guns so long as they’re certified by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.

School officials say they started talking about the plan following several school shootings in recent years.

“We have a lot of people in these rural communities that farm and ranch and those are great aspects. But when you try to educate their students you still want to try to keep them safe and those threats are just as real to them as they are in urban areas,” Hartshorne Superintendent Jason Lindley told KJRH.

Officials say that if a teacher wants to carry a firearm on campus, they will have to obtain the proper certification and must be approved by the superintendent.

“To me, I think that’s warranted. If we’re going to have firearms around kids we need to know what we’re doing. We need to be in the same training realm as a local law enforcement officer,” Lindley said.

If there isn’t enough interest by school personnel in the program, officials say they will look into hiring certified armed security guards.