Peetz School District announces community meeting to discuss school safety
June 1, 2023
PEETZ, COLORADO – Peetz Plateau School District RE-5, Peetz, Colorado, announced it will host a community forum to discuss arming its staff members during emergency situations.
In a message to the community posted by Peetz Spokesperson Leslie Raffelson for Peetz School Superintendent Jeff Durbin, the school wrote, “Join us for a crucial discussion on school safety and emergency preparedness in our district.”
Adding, “Your input and insights are invaluable as we explore the topic of arming staff members with firearms during emergencies.”
The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 8, starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Peetz School Commons.
“As members of our community, it's essential that we come together to address the safety concerns in our schools,” Peets School continued. “This meeting will provide an open forum to discuss the possibility of arming staff members during emergency situations.”
During the meeting, the community will:
Share information about current safety protocols in place;
Discuss perspectives on arming staff members; and
Encourage open dialogue to hear community opinions and concerns.
“Your voice matters and we value your input in shaping the future of our district's safety measures,” Peetz School wrote. “Let's work collaboratively to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
The district asked residents to spread the word and invite fellow community members, parents, teachers and concerned individuals to participant in the conversation.
This decision comes on the heels of a Nashville, Tennessee Christian school shooting which happened back in April.
A former student, Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old trans-identified individual, reportedly “planned extensively for the violence at the Covenant School on Burton Hills Boulevard,” Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake told members of the media.
Six individuals at the school, three children and three adults, lost their lives in a hail of 126 bullets fired by Hale in less than 15 minutes before law enforcement arrived on scene and fatally shot her.
Hale killed three 9-year-old students in the sixth grade, a custodian, a substitute teacher and the head of the school before law enforcement arrived.
The victims were:
School leader Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60;
Substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61;
School custodian Mike Hill, 61;
Sixth grader Hallie Scrugs, 9;
Sixth grader Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; and
Sixth grader William Kinney, 9.
The Covenant School is a small Christian school with students from preschool through sixth grade.
In 2013, just months after the Sandy Hook, Newtown Connecticut, shooting, South Dakota became the first state to allow school employees to carry guns.
In 2017, Wyoming passed legislation to arm its teachers, and since then, five districts have completed the statutory requirements to arm teachers; another 15 districts statewide are reportedly at various stages of the process to allow teachers and staff members to be armed.
Wyoming lawmakers passed this legislation in the wake of five high profile school shootings which took place from February 2016 to January 2017; including the West Liberty-Salem High School Shooting, West Liberty, Ohio.
In 2018, Utah began arming its teachers after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting, Parkland, Florida.
Some Nebraska lawmakers are discussing state legislation that would mimic or closely copy that of Wyoming and Utah, but are also looking into other ways to increase school safety at schools.
Earlier this year, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen signed constitution carry into law, which takes effect later this summer.
Today, only 16 states explicitly prohibit teachers from carrying a firearm at school: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
At the time of the shooting, Tennessee law allowed private school teachers to carry if they were given permission from administrators, however, there is no law for or against Tennessee public schools to allow teachers to carry.
Mississippi is currently waiting on Governor Tate Reeves to sign its bill that would allow teachers to become trained and carry at schools.
Alabama, Oklahoma and Indiana have state laws similar to that of Wyoming and Utah that allows trained, certified staff members to carry concealed at school.
Colorado districts took things into their own hands instead of waiting for state lawmakers to arm its teachers following the deadly shootings at Robb Elementary, Uvalde, Texas in 2022. At least 41 school districts in Colorado have armed their teachers, and those teachers have obtained concealed carry permits to do so. Peetz would become the 42 district in Colorado to arm its teachers, if that's the direction the district should choose to take.