Colorado School District Decides Not to Arm Civilian School Guards
After months of community feedback, the Durango School District decided to not arm its civilian school guards.
- By Sherelle Black
- November 14, 2019
After seeking and obtaining community feedback on whether to arm its civilian school guards, the Durango School District in Colorado decided against doing so on Thursday.
The Durango Herald reported the informal decision was made during a work session Nov. 5.
The community has been split on the issue, which prompted the district to hold two community meetings prior to making its decision.
“It is clear on this one issue our community is equally split,” Snowberger said in an email to The Herald. “That does not take away the value of each person’s opinion or position. It is clear that our community is passionate about the safety of our students, and for that, the board and I are grateful.”
In September, La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith, Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer and State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll told the school district they are against the guards being armed.
The school district is having to use civilian school guards because of the limited number of school resource officers the Durango Police Department can afford to assign to schools, reported The Herald. Two officers are assigned to serve 13 schools within city limits, said Superintendent Dan Snowberger.
Insufficient staff is a problem for both the Sheriff’s Office and police department, officials said. In particular, local law enforcement can’t compete with wages offered by other agencies, Smith told the Herald.
Gun safety advocate Dr. Sarah Goodpastor told the newspaper she is pleased the 9-R board decided to follow the recommendations of law enforcement.
However, in a survey sent out by the district to the community, school staff and students, 51.7 percent of respondents said they supported arming school security guards. The questionnaire did note the guards would be former police officers who are trained to use firearms, The Herald reported.
There were a total of 1,553 responses.
Sherelle Black is a Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.