Idaho school district buys stockpile of rifles and ammo for teachers to use against armed intruders
BY Nicole Hensley
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A school isolated by Idaho’s vast landscape has armed members of its faculty with four rifles and 2,000 rounds of ammo fearing a gun attack.
It’s the best security precautions Garden Valley School officials say they can offer 200 of its students in the case of an armed attack since first responders could be at least a half hour away, according to a local report.
Signs will warn dangerous intruders that the tiny elementary, middle and high school “is armed" and they will be met with force while awaiting the nearest law enforcement agency, the Boise County Sheriff’s Office, which is a 50-mile drive from the school and based in Boise.
“The sheriff will tell you it could even be up to 45 minutes and without having any opportunities to resist an attack — why that’s a long time,” Alan Ward, one of school board members that signed off on the nearly $3,000 deal, told KBOI-TV. “Let’s all hope and pray we never have to use it.”
Parents who spoke to the TV station are divided on whether the plan is a good idea.
“I think that it’s totally ridiculous to have guns in the school in case something happens,” Deborah Colson said. “Maybe they should work on security guards.”
That idea fizzled along the board members because there was not enough state funding to hire a school resource officer, minutes from the school board's meetings show.
Their plan to train and arm members of the school’s faculty has been in the works since at least 2013 when district chairwoman Rosemary Koenig recommended a firearms training program for all of Idaho schools in 2013.
Her proposal to establish a police academy for school employees was rejected, Northwest New Network reported.
“You just constantly are hearing about school invasions and we just simply do not want to have that occur in our district,” Ward told KBOI-TV.
The idea reportedly garnered critisicm by members of the Boise County Sheriff’s Office tasked with training the teachers with firearm safety, documents show.
“There were a few of the deputy sheriffs that showed some immaturity with their comments. It was not all deputies,” the minutes from an April 14 meeting read. “They were told that they were not trying to do their job, only take care of any situations until they arrived.”
Another document claims Sheriff Ben Roeber is “100% in support” of the school’s firearm plan, but he failed to attend a faculty firearm training. Ward expressed disappointment in Roeber’s abscence to his fellow board members.
Attempts by the Daily News to Sheriff Roeber and members of the Garden Valley School Board were not immediately returned.
As the school’s plan came together, the board sought a deal with St. Louis, Missouri’s police department on buying used rifles, but they never heard back on an offer. They turned to Buckhorn Guns in Boise and bought the rifles for $680 each.
It’s not clear what kind of firearms were purchased and an employee with Buckhorn Guns declined to say what type of rifles the district purchased. The guns have been “operational” at the school for two months, documents show, and are being kept in a gun safe donated to the district.
Four teachers have been selected and trained by deputies with the Boise County Sheriff’s Office to use the firearms, but Ward won’t say who or where the guns are stashed.
A concealed weapons permit is required in Idaho, but there are no restrictions on the concealment of firearms in schools.
The school was advised to buy body armor vests, slings and extra magazine rounds that would cost up to $2,000.