LUTHER, Okla. - Starting in just a few days, a new policy for Luther Public Schools designate armed personnel on school grounds.
The school board voted to approve the policy in June, effective this year. Superintendent Barry Gunn said the controversial decision was based on doing everything possible to protect their students.
Gunn declined to go on camera for the story but said, in an interview, he would hand-pick about two people to be armed in each school. After nearly 20 years in the school district, he said he would make the decision based on his knowledge of how the person reacts in a high-pressure situation.
The policy not only requires the people chosen have a conceal carry license but about 110 hours of training as well, including security guard training and active shooter training.
The firearm must be kept in a locked and secured location, or carried in an approved holster on his or her person. Gunn stressed it could not be at all visible.
The identity of the armed personnel is to be kept secret from students and parents, and revealing that information could result in termination.
Not everyone is thrilled about the policy, including Luther mother Julie Moore.
"I think I have a right to know if my kid's sitting in a classroom with a teacher who has a gun on their hip," Moore said.
She has five children in Luther Public Schools and said she doesn't believe introducing more guns to the classroom is the solution to school shootings.
"I don`t feel that it's safe," Moore said.
Gun-safety advocate Audrey Burro with 'Moms Demand Action' insists arming school staff just puts children at risk.
"Not only could a student become aware of how and where a teacher stores that gun, but research actually shows that just the presence of a firearm increases the risk of homicide and suicide," Burros said. "They are there to nurture and educate our children, not to be ready at a moment’s notice to possibly have to take one of their students lives."
"It just seems like they should have asked for input from the parents," Moore said, "because they asked for parents for input on the four-day school week, which they decided not to do, but with this one they were very quiet about it."
But, Gunn argued it's the school board's decision to make school policy and it must do everything possible to keep their children safe, even if it's controversial.
The full armed personnel policy can be viewed here.