Leavenworth public school officials have decided not to allow district employees to carry concealed firearms while at work as permitted under a new state law.
The new law, which goes into effect in July, allows school officials to permit employees to carry concealed handguns in district buildings. Employees would have to be licensed to carry concealed handguns and meet the district's own policy requirements.
Leavenworth Superintendent Kelly Crane said the Board of Education has elected to not adjust its policy to allow staff members to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.
"As with all of our board policies, we will review on an annual basis, and continue collecting and analyzing related information to make decisions that are in the best interests of protecting the learning environment and ensuring student safety," Crane said in a statement.
Lansing Superintendent Randy Bagby said the issue has not yet been discussed in his district.
And Easton Superintendent Chuck Coblentz said the issue hasn't been considered by the board members in his district.
Bagby shared results of a survey in which superintendents in Kansas were asked about the issue.
According to the results, about 78 percent of the superintendents, or 108 of the 138 respondents, indicated their school boards have not considered the issue.
Only one of the responding superintendents indicated his or her district has authorized employees to carry concealed weapons. The results do not identify this superintendent's district.
Someone who is allowed to carry a firearm ― although it's not concealed ― in the Leavenworth public schools is the school resource officer who works at the high school.
And the Leavenworth Police Department and school district are seeking a federal grant to help fund a second SRO.
The Police Department is applying for the grant, which is offered through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The grant would pay up to 75 percent of the salary and benefits for a new officer for a maximum of $125,000 during a three-year period, according to Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens.
A minimum 25 percent local match would be required. The 25 percent match would be paid for by the school district during the three-year period of the grant.
Kitchens said the grant would require that the Police Department continue to employ the officer for at least one year after the three years of grant funding. During this fourth year, the school district would pay for 75 percent of the officer's salary and benefits with the Police Department picking up the remaining 25 percent.
Kitchens said he and Crane would work out where in the district the new officer would be assigned.
Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department, said the selection process for the grant is competitive. But requests for SROs are supposed to be given a higher priority than requests for other types of officers.