DeWitt Public Schools approve new gun restrictions

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By Connor Clark
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

The DeWitt Public School's Board of Education meeting approves new gun policy.

The DeWitt Public School’s Board of Education meeting approves new gun policy.

DeWitt Public School’s Board of Education unanimously approved a new gun policy that bans administrators from carrying a firearm on school grounds.

“Right now we have a policy for students and faculty, but not administrators,” board member Sarah Hartman said.

Superintendent of Dewitt Public Schools, Dr. John Deiter believes that guns in school provide a false sense of security and may cause more problems than solve.

“Administrators haven’t had the same level of training of police personnel,” Deiter said.

“Lock it down… how do you expect to confront an armed subject for something you are not trained to do, and win?” City of DeWitt Police Chief Bruce Ferguson said.

According to Deiter, weapons that are brought into school by administrators may be misplaced and could fall into the hands of a student.

“I’m in favor of guns in schools if they are in the hands of trained law enforcement,” Deiter said. “But having a teacher or administrator try and take down an armed suspect is a low possibility.”

Currently, none of the six schools that make up the DeWitt Public School system have an on-duty police officer, or trained security staff, according to Deiter.

“I can be there in two and half minutes,” Ferguson said. “Will it be enough time to stop a shooter? I don’t know.”

Initial disagreement came from Hartman; in her statement, she fears the potential for a school shooting.

“With no gun on-site, our students would be sitting ducks,” Hartman said.

However, protocols in-place for if a shooter entered a school, won her mind back to approve the policy.

Current protocol is a lockdown procedure, where teachers quickly lock their doors and take students to a corner where a suspect would not be able to see them through a window, according to the DeWitt Public Schools website.

This lockdown drill is required to be practiced at least three times a year, and at each of the six schools that make up DeWitt Public Schools, according to the website.

DeWitt High School is one the six schools that make up DeWitt Public Schools.

DeWitt High School is one the six schools that make up DeWitt Public Schools.

DeWitt High School Principal Jody McKean believes that lockdown testing performed at DeWitt High School is sufficient.

“I think three is enough,” McKean said. “What is nice about testing is that it can occur at any time, even during passing periods.”

McKean also said that the high school is looking into having a part time officer on-site.

However, the looming question over whether having a gun in school may help stop a potential threat, is one that maybe go unanswered for a while.

“If there was a weapon in the classroom, I wouldn’t be opposed to that,” Ferguson said.

“My concern and it’s more personal, I’m just not in favor of guns in schools,” Deiter said.

DeWitt fact box that shows the amount of residents that are legally allowed to purchase a handgun, along with the population of DeWitt High School.

DeWitt fact box that shows the amount of residents that are legally allowed to purchase a handgun, along with the population of DeWitt High School.

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