The Illinois Association of School Boards could revisit a resolution that would give school districts the option to arm faculty.
Although the legislation failed a year ago, school boards from various regions will vote again later in November at the organization’s annual conference.
Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director at IASB, said the delegates can re-engage in the discussion because the IASB takes proposals from school boards every year, with the process starting in April.
“They have to the middle of June to get those in, so this resolution was submitted in a timely manner,” Schwarm said. “It’s a totally open process. Any school board member can submit a proposal any year. So the school board that submitted this last year, I’m guessing since it was a fairly close vote that they submitted it again this year.”
Schwarm said the resolution committee made up of school board members met in August to discuss all the resolutions that were proposed this year, including the issue of school safety.
“Then they will go to our delegate assembly coming up here in a couple of weeks and they will vote on it at that time,” Schwarm said.
Proponents of the legislation are particularly making arguments for schools in rural areas, which are usually protected by local police or sheriffs instead of school resource officers who can respond more quickly to emergencies.
“The response times, instead of 3 to 5 minutes in a suburban area, that can be 20-25 minutes for a response from your local responder,” Schwarm said. ”That seems to be the biggest impetus for this.”
Schwarm said it’s hard to tell if the resolution has a lot of momentum at this point.
“It was up last year [and] somewhat controversial. It had a lot of great debates and it was a really close vote,” Schwarm said. “What will happen this year, I don’t know. Each school board sends a delegate and they vote in the best interest of their local school board. I’m guessing like most other elections, it depends on turnout and who comes out.”