Recently, a small school district in eastern Pennsylvania became the first school district in the state to permit teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons in schools. The measure, which the school board passed unanimously, offers employees a $2,000 annual stipend and a $250,000 insurance policy for volunteering to participate in the program. The volunteers have to participate in training on the use of deadly force; the school district stated that it would provide weapons but hoped that the volunteers will supply their own.
In the wake of passionate debates about school safety and how best to promote it, some states and individual school districts have turned to laws that would allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom. In March 2018, Florida became the fifteenth state to enact such a law, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington, which already allowed (or encouraged) teachers to bear arms. The states require some measure of permission or approval for teachers who want to carry firearms: in Idaho, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, school employee must be approved by the school board or superintendent, whereas in Kansas, and Wyoming, school employees who want to carry firearms must obtain concealed carry permits. The remaining states (Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas) mandate that employees complete firearms programs.
However, it is difficult to determine how widespread the policy is, because many states (like Pennsylvania, which does not have a statewide policy on concealed weapons in schools) allow individual school districts to decide if teachers can carry guns. Because such policies can flourish on a local basis, armed teachers may be more common than we know.