District, others look to change weapons law
MANISTIQUE – Should an individual with a license to carry a weapon be allowed to carry that weapon on school property? The Manistique Area Schools Board of Education doesn’t think so, and they, along with other districts around the state, are making sure the Michigan legislature hears their side.
According to Superintendent Kathy McDonough, current law lists places where it is prohibited to openly carry a firearm, even if licensed, including daycare centers, hospitals, places of worship, courts, hospitals, theatres, sports arenas, and bars. The list does not include public schools.
“So, literally, you are protected in a bar, but not in a school,” she said.
The Michigan Association of School Boards is looking into changing this, McDonough explained.
“Recently, it’s been brought to MASB’s attention that this has become an issue of our school districts,” she said. “People who have a legal right to carry a firearm openly are entering our schools, and the schools, upon seeing the weapon, are entering into a lockdown.”
These lockdowns cause an unnecessary disruption to the days of students and staff, McDonough added. Currently, MAS has a similar procedure, she explained, which means when a person carrying a firearm is found on school property, the school goes into “lock down status”.
According to McDonough, there is no real way to effectively weed out those truly qualified to be carrying a weapon. She noted that those licensed to carry a weapon are trained in different tiers.
“Do you stop and say, ‘What tier are you?’,” she said. “I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
In response to the lack of legislative coverage, McDonough said Rockford Public School District recently passed a resolution urging legislators to add schools to the list of places where it is prohibited to openly carry a weapon. She requested the board do the same.
“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” McDonough said. “We shouldn’t even have to ask for this.”
The board unanimously approved sending the resolution to a list of senators, representatives, the Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Gov. Rick Snyder, as well as the MASB and the Michigan Association of School Administrators.
In other business, the board also approved various coaching positions for the winter sports season, including: Kim Hayward, varsity cheer coach; Danielle Ford and Stephanie Van Wierren, junior high cheer coaches; Kelley Spettel, girls varsity basketball coach; Bob Ryan, girls junior varsity basketball coach; Beth Aldrich, boys and girls varsity swim coach; Devin
Lawrence, eighth grade boys basketball coach; Doug Morrison, seventh grade boys basketball coach; David Winkel, boys junior varsity basketball coach; Todd Kangas, boys varsity basketball coach; and Gary Bowman, varsity wrestling coach. The position of freshman boys basketball coach remains open.