As School Year Nears, Mo. Principal Defends Arming Teachers

WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KMOX) – When classes begin in one Missouri school district on Thursday, some teachers and staff members will be carrying loaded guns.

The Fairview School District outside West Plains, Missouri started arming staff last spring.

“We’re not going to wait around for the sheriff’s department to show up and take care of some incident,” Principal Aaron Sydow says.

Sydow is speaking not just as an administrator but as a parent of children in the school. “Sure wouldn’t want everyone in this building to feel like they had to defend those kids by holding a textbook up or some nonsense like that,” he adds.

In order to carry, applicants have to become employees of a security company. That means passing background checks and scoring at least 90 percent on handgun qualification tests.

“I would say they have to be somewhere on the side of advanced as far as the skill level that is concerned,” Sydow explains.

While Sydow says the headline-grabbing plan is not for every school, especially those in urban areas, his parents like the program.

“Initially it was a little shock for some of them but it’s been pretty well-received,” he added. “More schools should take advantage of it. That’s exactly what I would say.”

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