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Ozarks School District Stands Behind Decision to Arm Select Employees

FAIRVIEW, Mo. -- Keeping guns out of school...by carrying guns in school. One Ozarks school district made a decision to arm staff members this past spring, in the wake of the school shooting at Sandy Hook in December 2012.
FAIRVIEW, Mo. -- Keeping guns out of school...by carrying guns in school.

One Ozarks school district made a decision to arm staff members this past spring, in the wake of the school shooting at Sandy Hook in December 2012.
 
School has started at Fairview and those with concealed weapons are in place. Fairview is a school district of just more than 500 students.
 
Instead of a few hours of training for a conceal and carry permit, teachers and staff underwent 40 hours of training and will have to qualify twice a year to be part of a security team.

Among students at recess on a normal school day, and reading in the library at Fairview School District, are teachers and staff members carrying concealed guns.

"They are on the teachers at all times," says Greg Martin, owner of Shield Solutions. The company is responsible for training, employing and insuring the part of  the staff of this district that now serves as its security force. 

The identities of those with guns are only known to a few.

"We kind of went along with the air marshal program," says Martin. "When you get on, you know they are there. You just don't know who they are dueling employee status that allows schools to designate individuals that carry and conceal and then under Shield Solutions, our liability and workman's comp would cover them."

Brian Martin is the School Board President and parent of three children at Fairview. Martin says, for he and other board members, this did not come down to being wildly enthusiastic about having guns in the school, but rather how quickly can these children get help?

"We are about 14 minutes response time from our Sheriff's Department. So timing is really a critical issue, response time with our program is zero they are here on site all the time."

This is Aaron Sydow's second year as principal at Fairview. He says the plan gained support among teachers and families.

"I didn't want to have to be posed with the opportunity to have to defend the kids here and not be able to do it," says Sydow.

Sydow and Greg Martin say those with guns dress so they remain unseen by students.

"The next time there is an incident like occurred at Sandy Hook, whether it's in this state or hundreds of miles away, the teachers here are going to feel confident they have a security team on place should that need arise on this campus," adds Sydow.

The Fairview School District has now been contacted by a school district from Clarksville, Arkansas who had trained about 20 teachers to carry concealed weapons.

Clarksville was later blocked from doing so by the Arkansas Attorney General who said school districts could not be designated private security agencies.
 
Greg Martin told KOLR10 News they actually worked with lawmakers while working through the decision-making process to ensure they were within their legal limits. He says the biggest issue they dealt with was insurance.
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