The Cody School Board scheduled a public hearing 6 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium to give people a final chance to comment on proposed revisions to the two-year old policy allowing certain trained staff to carry concealed handguns at school.
Trustees may vote on the revised rule – the state tweaked legislation to make it a rule instead of a policy – at the end of the hearing.
That hearing is more than 45 days after the beginning of the publication period, as per a rule.
People are encouraged to comment via email prior to the hearing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re saying we’re going to receive comments on a date, but we prefer ahead of time,” trustee Stefanie Bell said at the June 2 meeting.
The district’s last public hearing at Wynona was in January 2017 in advance of the passage of the policy. When passed later that spring, the policy included a mandatory review after two years.
That review has been a lengthy process spanning multiple virtual and socially distanced meetings. While the basic premise remains the same – the policy allows trained staff to apply to carry a concealed firearm – there have been a number of tweaks.
For one, while most trustees already agreed to raise the number of years of employment needed to qualify to five, they also agreed on an exception that would allow someone with at least two years of employment.
The policy previously required two years of continuous employment to be eligible. Now, a staff member with two years of experience would have to confer with administration and await the superintendent’s recommendation to the board before the process could move forward.
Chair Brandi Nelson said only 10% of employees fall in that 2-5 year range of employment. That reduction in available teachers is offset by the policy now including nearly all staff as opposed to just contracted personnel.
Trustees have also talked at length about whether bus drivers should be allowed to carry and most decided against it, although they also discussed other ways for drivers to defend their students.