Jan 14, 2013 8:18 PM by Andy Koen

District approves of armed employee

COLORADO SPRINGS - Local schools have contracted with law enforcement agencies for several years to have a uniformed armed school resource officers in their buildings. However, the Board of Education for Falcon School District 49 recently took things further by allowing a civilian employee to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds.

Dave Watson is the D49 Safety and Emergency Coordinator. His job duties include traveling from school to school unannounced and checking to see that security measures are being followed.

Watson, a former law enforcement officer, has taken Police Officers Safety Training classes as part of his previous career. But the gun was still off limits until the policy change.

"This is allowing him to (carry a handgun) in the capacity as a district staff member," explained D49 spokesperson Stephanie Wurtz. "This would also be another line of defense and another line of security that we can have in place throughout the district."

Some parents say it's a dangerous move. T.J Wolski is worried the policy will lead to armed staff across the district.

"I don't want teachers armed," she said. "Students can jump them or whatever, if you're in a high school environment. So, that's my biggest concern and they left it open."

She's also concerned that the change took place without a lot of public fanfare. Wurtz says the decision wasn't in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"Actually the discussion was going on a couple of months ago before the school shooting and there was actually a meeting the day before," Wurtz said.

Watson has since begun the application process for his concealed handgun permit. The board also approved up to $3,000 to help pay for the expense.


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