Armed educators: Good or bad idea?

Armed educators: Good or bad idea?
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Tobacco free, drug free and weapons free. You've likely seen those signs at some point around your kid's school but what if there was an exception to the last one about weapons?

It's an idea that's now being explored to better protect your children.

The top cops around the Yakima Valley say it's time to meet with educators about school security.

"We are looking again at how can we harden, how can we make it more difficult for bad guys to get into these buildings, into classrooms," said Yakima County Sheriff's Officer Lieutenant Brian Winter.

Officers say all ideas are on the table; one would train an unidentified school employee to carry a gun at school. People with a law enforcement or military background would be ideal candidates, police say.

It would be up to individual school districts to decide if that's right for them.

Washington State law bans guns at school, except for police or school security with the proper training.

Parents KIMA spoke with are divided.

"I think, why are we not arming our teachers? Give them certification to protect our children," said Jeanie Lopez.

"I don't agree with it. It's a safety matter that are kids couldn't get in, get access to the guns. So it'd be a bad idea," said Diane Figg.

Police say it's worth discussing.

They asked ESD 105 School Safety and Security Coordinator Randy Town to help bring all the key players within local school districts together for a sit down.

"Do you feel there's still potential risks of having educators armed inside schools?" KIMA asked.

"Oh sure, absolutely," said Town. "And these risks are, you've got one armed person and 25 high schools that are angry at you. You have to be ready to evaluate and be trained in an appropriate use of force."

"Do you think arming school educators with guns is sending a bad message to kids?" KIMA asked.

"I think that could go both ways." Town said.

Other ideas include placing armed officers at every school, especially schools located in rural areas, which takes money that isn't there.

"We have to look at liability when we do something and we have to look at the liability when we don't do something," Winter said.

Regardless, both educators and police I've spoken with say these issues must be addressed.

Officers stressed to KIMA that nothing has been decided.

Arming educators would require background checks, psychological testing and about a hundred hours of training.