School District Hosts First Listening Session on Concealed Carry at Schools

Of the 11 community members who spoke at the Campbell County School District’s listening session, only one was in favor of allowing concealed carry on school grounds.

Effective July 1, 2017, Wyoming State Statute 21-3-132 allows the board of trustees in each school district the flexibility to adopt rules and regulations to allow employees possessing a valid concealed carry permit to carry a concealed firearm into school facilities. The law also outlines the minimum requirements for districts to adopt such policies, including training guidelines.

The vast majority of speakers were former teachers or school district employees. County Commissioner Del Shelstad was the only person to speak in favor allowing concealed carry at school. He commended the students and staff at Sage Valley for how well they handled the situation last November when a 14-year-old student brought firearms into the school.

“Firearms should never be used as a deterrent, in my opinion. A firearm is a last resort in all cases,” said Shelstad.

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Shelstad went on to say he did not envy the school district in this situation, because the decision is not simply to allow school staff to carry a firearm. There’s a lot more to it.

Mother of four, Jenny Carroll, spoke against fire arms in school. She recounted the event at Sage Valley, her 13-year-old son was in gym class at the time.

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She said at first the announcement was hard for them to hear, but once they did, the teacher gathered the students in a closet on the other side of the gym. He grabbed a baseball bat and stood by the door, telling his class that no matter what happened, he’d be there.

“How unfair for that teacher,” Carroll told the panel. “How unfair for that teacher to be put in that position to have to put his life on the line to save my son.”

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She said until every other safety measure has been exhausted, guns should not even be considered.

This was the first of three public listening session planned. The next sessions are scheduled for Thursday, April 4, and Monday, April 15. Both listening session will begin at 6 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 1000 w. 8th St.