Missouri is one of the states that allow teachers and school staff to be armed and serve as protection officers as long as they complete hours of basic training.
In 2014, the Missouri legislature approved Senate Bill 613, also known as the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” which allows teachers to carry concealed guns.
“This act allows a school district to designate one or more school teachers or administrators as a school protection officer. School protection officers are authorized to carry a concealed firearm or self-defense spray device,” the law states. “The officer must keep the firearm or device under his or her personal control at all times while on school property.”
According to KMOV, two school districts in the Saint Louis area decided to train teachers and other district employees with firearms. Shield Solutions, LLC out of West Plains, Missouri provided the training for the two districts.
The Sunrise R-9 School District in southern Jefferson County was the first in the St. Louis region to choose to equip teachers and other district employees with firearms. Armand Spurgin said the district has trained and armed employees for 5 years.
“We knew that we had to do something to mitigate our risk being in a small rural school,” he said.
Sunrise School is a K-through-8 school in the Valle Mines area. Spurgin said he was told it could take 20 to 30 minutes for a deputy to arrive if there was a school shooting.
He said teachers and other employees who volunteer for the program receive 40 hours of training initially and 24 hours of retraining each year. And that’s only if they can pass the screening to be accepted.
“There’s a lot that goes into this, to make sure that you’re you’re a safe individual and your individual can psychologically handle it,” said Spurgin.
Shield Solutions, LLC out of West Plains, Missouri provides the training for the district. The same company also trains employees in the St. Clair R-XII school district in Franklin County.
St. Clair R-XII Superintendent Dr. Kyle Kruse said there haven’t been any incidents to make use of the firearms training his employees have received. But he said the interest in the program hasn’t waned.
Kruse said the high school continues to have a school resource officer, but that the district also hired a director of security.
Through a program set up by the State of Missouri, 24 school districts have sent school personnel through state-sponsored training to become school protection officers. Currently, 52 people have completed the training, which includes 112 hours of training with an 18-hour annual refresher course. The training is conducted at one of the state’s police academies.