The board chairperson of one of Minnesota's largest school districts supports the idea of allowing armed volunteers to roam school hallways.
It's the idea proposed Tuesday by Robert Gerhart, chair of the Osseo School Board, in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida last week, that left 17 dead.
"There are voices that say we need to arm our teachers. No. Just... no," Gerhart said during a board meeting.
His attention quickly turned to a suggestion of allowing armed volunteers who pass extensive background checks in the district's hallways.
"Let volunteers identify themselves privately," Gerhart said. "Require the volunteers to be 21 or older. Require the county sheriff's office to run a background check on each volunteer at the volunteer's own expense."
Anyone with any criminal background would be disqualified and all volunteers would require a clean drug record and pass a mental illness evaluation under Gerhart's plan.
They would also have to provide a Minnesota license to carry and show proficiency on the shooting range through a certified instructor.
"We have the ability to make a difference right here, right now," he said. "I challenge all of us to have this conversation open and honestly."
District Superintendent Kate Maguire told Fox 9 on Thursday that Gerhart's idea doesn't represent the district, and they have no plans to change their firearms policy.
Gerhart's suggestion comes as some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, want to tackle mass school shootings by having an armed presence inside schools, including teachers.
You can watch Gerhart's speech in this video beginning at the 51:40 mark.
Osseo School District is the fifth largest district in Minnesota featuring more than 30 schools/education centers.
- 17 elementary schools
- 4 middle schools
- 4 senior highs (Osseo, Maple Grove, Park Center, Osseo ALC)
- 3 educational centers
- 4 early childhood centers.