Ferndale school board opposes bills to allow concealed weapons in schools

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 4, 2017

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FERNDALE — The Ferndale Board of Education passed a joint resolution with the Ferndale Education Association stating their opposition to a pair of state Senate bills that would allow concealed weapons in schools.

Senate bills 584-586, already passed by the Michigan Senate, would allow people with additional training to have concealed weapons in areas such as schools, child care centers, bars, hospitals and stadiums. 

They also prevent “local units of government” from imposing restrictions on the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation or possession of firearms. This includes school districts, community colleges and public libraries.

The Ferndale school board passed the resolution at its Nov. 20 meeting in a 7-0 vote. Board President Jennifer LaTosch said, essentially, the board believes it’s bad legislation that would make schools less safe for students, staff and volunteers.

“We wanted to work together with the teachers to share our opinion and our beliefs with the Legislature and the governor,” she said.

One of the main sponsors of the bills, state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, could not be reached for comment by press time.

LaTosch said that if the bills pass the Michigan House of Representatives and are signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, the only thing she believes the school board would be allowed to do with the legislation “the way it’s written” is the district could prohibit its own students from carrying weapons onto school grounds during school hours.

“But if we had visiting students and they had the license, we could not restrict that weapon from coming out to the school grounds. So we have very limited ability to provide restrictions (because of) the bill,” she said.

If the bills are passed, LaTosch said the school district would have to follow the law, as it is the law of the state, which is what concerns her, as this would “handcuff” the district and take away local control to determine whether or not this would provide more or less safety to the schools.

“I’ve spoken to our own superintendent and administrators and (Ferndale Police) Chief (Timothy) Collins … and it’s all our belief and understanding that this would not be a benefit to our district,” she said. “I mean, there might be some districts out there in the state where this would provide greater safety, but again, our police departments are so close and we actually have a police officer on-site. So it doesn’t benefit our district, and it’s taking away our ability to decide what’s best for our district.”