Columbia superintendent addresses school security

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher said the public should never carry guns on school property.

Belcher made his comments during a presentation on school security before Boone County democrats at Fridayâ??s Muleskinner luncheon.

Belcher said his school district has a policy that does not allow anyone to have weapons on school property unless they're a police officer or someone giving a class demonstration of an historic-style weapon.

Belcher said if a teacher is packing a gun, they would be fired immediately.

â??We would fire them. Itâ??s that simple. It violates policy,â?? he said.

Belcher got a round of applause from a group of Boone County Democrats when he talked about gun safety at Columbia Public Schools. Belcher said school policy calls for no weapons on any campus and he wants lawmakers to keep it that way. Belcher sees it as an issue of local control.

â??I donâ??t think Jefferson City should mandate that we have to allow that to happen on our school grounds," he said. "That should be a local decision. The law has conceal and carry. Itâ??s allowed in certain venues. Public schools have the right to say no.â??

Belcher also talked about the impact of the Connecticut school shootings on his district. He said he believes there is no "one size fits all" intruder drills for schools and each district across the country should have policies that apply to different situations.

Retired teacher Marlys Jacobs believes Columbia schools are safe, but they could be safer with more funding.

"Putting a paid security person in every school, that may or may not hold a gun, would take $2 million a year to fund that," she said. "Funding helps.â??

Belcher said school resource officers are one of the biggest assets for school security. However, Belcher believes students are his best security officers since they are usually the first to report any problems.

Belcher told the crowd he could not say Columbia Public Schools are completely safe. Belcher admitted no matter what precautions are taken, a tragedy like the one in Newtown, Conn., could happen anywhere, at anytime.

Governor Jay Nixon opposes legislation that would allow Missouri teachers to carry concealed guns into classrooms.

He described that idea as â??the wrong approach."