District 220 criticized over vote on arming teachers
Local members of a national group concerned about gun violence criticized Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members this week for supporting a proposal that would allow Illinois school districts to have armed teachers.
District 220 was among 179 districts to back a resolution before the Illinois Association of School Boards last week supporting a possible state law permitting teachers to carry firearms on campus. Two hundred and three districts opposed the resolution, leading to its defeat.
Barrington Area Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America and others criticized District 220 leaders Tuesday for their vote.
Wearing a red Moms Demand Action shirt, parent Kendall Busse said it was a "shock" to learn the school board voted 4-2 to have its convention delegate back the proposed resolution.
"As mothers, fathers and grandparents of students in the 220 system -- and its employees who work in the district buildings who are tasked with protecting our students -- to say we are disappointed by the vote is an understatement," Busse said. "It rattles the very trust we've had in this board thus far for its care of our students."
Responding to the critics, school board President Brian Battle said District 220 never intended to arm teachers. Battle, who voted against the resolution, said those who backed the measure favored giving local school districts control, particularly for rural school systems where police response times can be long.
District 220 board member Gavin Newman said he wouldn't want armed school employees in Barrington, where emergency assistance is minutes away.
"There's a lot of communities in Illinois that don't have that same luxury," Newman said. "And that's really where my vote was driven from, giving other boards like us that have to make a really tough decision, the ability that they're looking at that (armed employees) as a better solution or a better outcome."
Illinois Association of School Boards spokeswoman Kara Kienzler said the group did not track how each school district voted on the measure.