The Ann Arbor (Mich.) school board has adopted new safety policies that ban persons other than law enforcement personnel from having guns and other dangerous weapons on district property.
“The board and community have clearly stated dangerous weapons such as guns in our schools are inconsistent with [our] legal responsibility,” board president Deb Mexicotte says.
The board moved quickly to update its policies after an incident last month in which a man with a concealed pistol license openly carried a gun at a choir concert in the auditorium at a district high school.
Michigan law allows persons with licenses to carry concealed pistols to carry them openly at schools.
But Ann Arbor school officials maintain that allowing guns in schools would make it impossible for educators to ensure the community that they are providing a safe learning environment for children.
"How can we possibly determine the intention of a gun-carrier on campus, to sort out the ‘good’ guys from those with malicious intent?" Ann Arbor Superintendent Jeanice Smith said in a statement following the board vote. "The presence of guns in schools runs contrary to everything we are wired for in education, and is counterproductive to maintaining a rich, productive, and healthy learning environment for our children.”
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The policy adopted by the board states:
"No person in possession of a dangerous weapon will be allowed to remain on property owned or leased by [the district] at any time when students are at school, en route to or from school or at a school..."
"A dangerous weapon shall include a firearm (including a starter gun or pistol) or any device which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, any destructive device or any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine or similar device; a dagger, dirk, stiletto, knife with a blade over three inches in length, or pocket knife opened by a mechanical device, an iron bar or brass knuckles or, any other weapon as set forth in 18 USC&921. Also, any electronic device that inflicts or causes pain or suffering is likewise considered a weapon.*
More on guns in Michigan schools: A slideshow from mlive.com gives a timeline of gun-related incidents in Michigan schools that preceded the Ann Arbor board's decision to amend its safety policies.