Fayette County Schools Superintendent on West Virginia House bill allowing teachers to carry

On February 21 the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that will allow trained teachers the ability to carry guns.

According to Fayette County Superintendent of Schools Gary Hough, they deal with safety and security every day, and the need to have more assistance is important. But he does have some concerns.

“My board of education, in particular, would like to have approval. We’d like to know who that individual is. I think it’s important that we understand who that individual is before they fill out an application,” Hough said. “It’s not just a matter of letting anybody carry a gun in a school setting.”

The superintendent says parents and communities expect them to be responsible. He says right now it looks like it’s up to the legislation to fill out the application, which he calls another issue.

“If they could tell us who’s gonna complete those mental health background checks, I think it would create a lot more comfort in us, who would carry those weapons in a school setting — and we get a chance to look at it in advance,” said Hough.

Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to school shootings as an all too common occurrence.

Hough says they just pray it’s never going to happen here in West Virginia. We have to be vigilant with many control mechanisms in place. They spread their resource officers throughout the county and are completing new buildings with safe school entrances.

“We have evolved technologies; lots of factors for safety of students, but there’s never 100 percent guard against what could happen in a school,” said the superintendent.

He says there are currently a lot of ifs within this bill. So whenever you put any precaution in place, you want to talk about the effectiveness as well as the risk factors.

There are some risk factors they have to make sure they control. Hough says it’s more complex when you deal with someone carrying a weapon in the school system.

“And the use of that weapon and the judgment factors dealing with that issue,” he said. “I think we want to be a little bit more careful than just to make it a wide-open process.”

The superintendent says it’s not a partisan action either way.

“We really feel like there needs to be some safeguards or guard-rails put into this bill that would prevent somebody that we’re concerned about from carrying within a school setting.”

Sponsored Content