ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education has unanimously voted to ban weapons in school buildings, a move that could be challenged in court by gun rights advocates.
The board met on Wednesday evening and completed their vote, 7-0, just after midnight. About 150 people attended the meeting, which was moved to Skyline High School to accommodate the crowd.
The issue has been a hot topic of debate since a man with a concealed pistol license brought a gun into Pioneer High School during a choir concert and a disruption ensued.
Under the new policy, a weapon in a school constitutes an emergency. If anyone but a law enforcement official carries a gun into an Ann Arbor school, administrators will ask the person to leave and call the police.
“Our teachers and school leaders have incredible responsibility already, how can we possibly determine the intention of a gun-carrier on campus, to sort out the ‘good guys’ from those with malicious intent,” Superintendent Jeanice Swift said in a statement. “The presence of guns in schools runs contrary to everything we are wired for in education, and is counterproductive to maintaining a rich, productive, and healthy learning environment for our children.”
The decision toughens the district’s weapons-free policy despite Michigan law, which says any resident who has a concealed pistol license may legally openly carry a gun into a school. It comes amid debate about whether it’s appropriate to openly carry firearms in schools.
The state Legislature could address this issue this year. Board members acknowledged the possibility of a lawsuit being filed, but they’re not worried.
“I’m pleased that we have approved a policy that will protect students and if tested in court we will be able to defend successfully,” said School Board Trustee Andy Thomas.
The policy does not apply to sworn law enforcement officers, but includes all other individuals.
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