Gillette schools eye armed teacher policy

GILLETTE — Two committees that have been working to create an armed educators policy and regulations in Gillette hope to bring drafts of their proposal to the school board sometime in January.

Campbell County School District is one of five districts in the state that has either passed or is considering policies for having trained, armed educators in schools.

Members of the two committees examining the issue locally include a local parent, law enforcement representative and school district staff.

The Armed Educators Committee went over a 22-page proposed draft Monday in its seventh meeting this school year, said Deputy Superintendent Kirby Eisenhauer.

The committees also will conduct a joint meeting in the first week of January to put their final touches on the draft.

The proposal then will likely be brought to the school board for the first of two readings during either of its January meetings, Jan. 14 or Jan. 28, Eisenhauer said.

At least that’s the plan.

“We want to make sure this is Campbell County’s plan and not just a boilerplate,” he said. “We tried to hit everything we thought was important.”

The proposal also includes details from policies approved in Evanston, Cody and Ten Sleep.

Also planned likely will be some public hearings about the policy proposal before the board takes a second and final vote.

While school officials have worked on crafting a policy and regulations, administrators are continuing efforts to add school resource officers to all secondary and more elementary schools in Campbell County, as well as introducing more effective surveillance and security measures in schools.

“This (draft) is just one piece of safety and security for us,” Eisenhauer said. “We’re continuing to work with the city and the county on getting more SROs.”

Money is one of the major issues. Eisenhauer said he thinks the school district is “ready to commit some funding to that as well.”

The law enforcement agencies “are doing such a good job now with what we have,” Eisenhauer said. “But the added security that would bring is something we’re all interested in.”

Eisenhauer said officials also are working on other things like “hardening our schools and being able to respond quicker.”

The Blue Point System, first piloted at the secondary level last spring, also has been added to several elementary schools this year. That system provides notifications and within seconds sends video and pinpoints where events are happening in schools.

“It really has improved our response times,” he said, adding that looking for ways to increase security is “something we’ll never stop.”