ANN ARBOR (AP) – The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education plans to consider a policy that would ban guns from schools, drawing criticism from gun rights advocates.
Officials began exploring a weapons-free policy amid a debate about whether it’s appropriate to openly carry firearms in schools, The Ann Arbor News reported. The board is scheduled to discuss the issue Wednesday.
A Michigan resident who has a concealed pistol license may legally openly carry a gun into a school. Policies could make Ann Arbor schools either weapon- or disruption-free zones, with law enforcement officers exempt.
“The board believes that the presence of weapons at school creates a disruption to ensuring a supportive, productive and positive educational environment for our students, staff, parents and visitors during the school day and at all school sponsored events and activities,” the district said in a statement.
Last week, the Board of Education asked state lawmakers to consider legislation making schools gun-free zones. It comes after 22-year-old Joshua Wade openly carried a gun into Pioneer High School during a choir concert. Police were called and, following the concert, a musician told the audience about the gun.
Michigan Open Carry’s vice president Tom Lambert said the school district’s plan to ban guns from school campuses is “lawless.”
“They don’t care because their taxpayer-funded insurance will bail the district out if they are wrong, and ultimately, it is highly unlikely the public officials will ever be held individually responsible,” he said.
School leaders, however, said the policies will be compliant with state laws. If a visitor brings a gun on school property, for example, Ann Arbor administrators might call the police and ask the visitor to leave.
“The Ann Arbor Public Schools has experienced disruptions for students, staff, and other participants when individuals open carry on district property, and as a result, AAPS will not allow weapons on district property, at events on campus or any school sponsored activities,” the district said.
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