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School board association: Missouri teachers have not volunteered to be protection officers

Missouri School Boards Association safety officials said there were no volunteers to be a School Protection Officer since the law went into effect 4 years ago. (Mark Slavit/KRCG 13)

Missouri School Boards Association safety officials said on Friday there have been no volunteers to be a School Protection Officer since the law went into effect four years ago.

State laws allow school administrators and teachers to carry concealed weapons in classrooms as a SPO.

Missouri School Boards Association Emergency Planning Coordinator John Warner said he believes Missouri teachers are not signing up as School Protection Officers because of mental stress. Warner said teachers choose their profession because they want to help students.

“Here’s a teacher in the position of a SPO," Warner said. "Now, they are confronting that student or former student that they know. To make the decision as to whether to take their life or not, that’s a big decision to make.”

School Protection Officers must pass a three-week course that involved learning how to disarm an active shooter and shoot to kill, if necessary.

Warner said he believes the cause of active shooter situations at schools was a twofold issue. He said it was a mental health issue and an access to guns issue. He said some prevention possibilities exist by identifying troubled students before they act and by offering resources to help troubled students. Warner said better communication between parents and their children helped prevent violence in schools.

“Find out their level of fear or concern about safety in their school," he said. "When you find that out, ask your school leaders about that.”

Warner said Missouri students need to live by the motto, if you see something, say something.

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