Illinois school boards say no to teachers, staff with guns

CHICAGO — School boards across Illinois have said no to allowing teachers and other employees to carry guns at schools.

The vote — 249 against and 198 for — took place Saturday at the Illinois Association of School Boards 2019 delegate assembly meeting.

School boards, including several in the Rockford area, sent representatives to vote on a variety of matters before the association, including resolutions that help shape its legislative agenda for the coming year.

The Student Safety resolution would have put the association’s support behind proposed legislation, if any were filed, that would allow teachers and other school staff to carry guns at school on a voluntary basis if their local school board approves. Most of the support for the resolution came from small rural school districts that can’t afford to hire school resource officers, as state law dictates, and face long response times when violence threatens their schools.

An increase in school shootings has prompted similar discussions across the country, and several states have adopted changes to laws that govern who can carry guns on school property. A similar measure before the state school board association was defeated last year by a vote of 203-179.