Douglas County school district, charter school debate guns in classrooms

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A battle is brewing in the Douglas County School District over whether or not teachers should have guns.

On the one side of the argument is Superintendent Thomas Tucker, who says guns have no place in the classroom.

“Teachers are not armed," Tucker said. "We will fight tooth and nail of any school whether it’s a neighborhood school or a charter school.”

On the other side of the debate is Derec Shuler, the executive director of Ascent Classical Academies. The charter school currently operates within the Douglas County School District. However, for more than a year staff at Ascent have been training to carry and use, if necessary, firearms inside the school.

“We have staff who volunteer," Shuler said. "They’re screened and they undergo pretty rigorous training. That’s on-going as well to be able to carry concealed firearms at school to protect kids.”

The Douglas County School District recently had to deal with a school shooting. An 18-year-old student was killed and eight others were hurt during a shooting on May 7 at the STEM Academy.

Shuler said parents and board members at the school made it clear that they want an armed response to a threat available in seconds not minutes.

"And that couple of minutes is what we’re intending to address with our approach to securing our children," he said.

The district isn’t budging on its plan that only security personnel will be the ones carrying guns inside school property. Tucker said if any school doesn’t like the idea there is another option.

“If it’s a charter school we will ask them to leave the Douglas County School District," he said.

Shuler says that’s an option his charter school is looking into, saying he would like the school to continue in its current location, however under the umbrella of the state not the district.

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