(KICD photo)

The Spirit Lake Community School Board has unanimously voted to let up to 10 staff members who aren’t teachers carry a concealed gun on school grounds.

District officials say if there’s an active shooter in Spirit Lake schools, this plan will provide an immediate response until local law enforcement officials arrive. Superintendent David Smith says those chosen to carry a gun will have to undergo extensive marksmanship and tactical training.

Spirit Lake Police Chief Shane Brevik recently released a letter, stating he was opposed to the policy. The superintendent said that was a surprise to him.

“At no time did he say, ‘Hey, I don’t like this,'” Smith said at the start of last night’s meeting. “At not time did he say, ‘Hey, we need to slow down.'”

The school board received more than 200 public comments about the policy. The police chief is among those who submitted a letter, saying there’s merit to a safety plan, but arming civilians to deal with intruders provides a false sense of security and might interfere with law enforcement response. Superintendent Smith, in remarks to the school board, called the letter “a sabotage job.”

“Within a few hours of sending this to me and to you, it was sent out to the media,” Smith said. “Nobody operates that way. Not in something with high stakes like that.”

More than a dozen Spirit Lake staff members have already begun training with local firearm instructors. In the school district’s survey, 47 district employees publicly said they supported the new safety plan, while one said they opposed it.

(By Corey Harguth, KICD, Spencer)

Radio Iowa