DES MOINES, Iowa — Under Iowa law, teachers are allowed to carry weapons at school.
According to Iowa Code 724.4B, the school must specifically authorize the person bring the weapon onto school grounds. Otherwise if not specified, any weapon brought on to school property would be considered a felony.
According to the Iowa Department of Education, the law has been in place since 2011. Lawmakers amended the Iowa Code allowing for educators to be armed in the classroom but some teachers say they didn’t know anything about it.
President of the Des Moines Education Association, Andrew Rasmussen, says he was surprised to learn of the law claiming to have never been asked by lawmakers about the issue. He says school districts arming teachers with weapons in the wrong type of defense.
“We would rather have them arm us with staplers, paper, materials to help teach or students. That`s the material missing from our classroom,” he says.
The Iowa Department of Education and Iowa School Board Association says they are not aware of any districts following this policy, however added schools are not required to report that information to the state.
“We don`t need these quick fixes that are divisive that just wont work. We too as a society talk about mental health and access to guns that cause this to happen,” says Rasmussen.
The Des Moines Police Department stands behind its stance about the issue. Sgt. Paul Parizek says putting guns in teachers’ hands is a bad idea.
“It’s a skill set that diminishes. We practice all the time. It requires precision and the only way if you keep that is by training and maintain training,” he says.
Parizek points to district’s school resource officers as the ones whose first priority is protecting the school.
Members of the Des Moines school board are planning a work session to discuss the district’s precaution and safety policies. A date or time has not been set. It’s expected to be open to the public.