The isolated Garden Valley School District has installed firearms in its only school building and trained staff to use them in response to an active shooter.
Citing safety reasons, Superintendent Marc Gee won’t say how many guns and safes were installed or where they are located. This summer, the district will post signs warning that the school building is armed and educators are prepared to defend against violent intruders.
“I can say that we consulted with our certified trainer and legal counsel on the number of and appropriate model of firearms for our situation and we followed those recommendations,” he said.
Other districts might have guns and safes on campus, said Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association, but Echeverria said she is not aware of any.
Garden Valley, a rural district about 60 miles from Boise, doesn’t have a resource officer on campus. The county’s 11 deputies cover the Garden Valley, Horseshoe Bend and Basin school districts and nearly 2,000 square miles. Boise County has about 7,000 residents.
“Garden Valley is in a unique circumstance,” Boise County Sheriff Ben Roeber said. “Where they are located geographically, we don’t have the staffing size to where we can guarantee safety. The school, knowing they were facing response times of up to 45 minutes, started seeking out different ideas and different options.”
The board agreed to install weapons that are locked in safes. About five staff members have been authorized and trained to use the weapons, and only those staff members will have access to them.
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