Concealed carry debate begins in Powell School District


Lauren Lejeune

Powell School Board trustees and Superintendent Mr. Jay Curtis (third from right) conduct a public form on March 12 at the PHS auditorium.

Powell citizens were able to share their beliefs on a topic that’s been circling the nation with no definite answer — arming teachers with concealed firearms — at a public form at Powell High School on March 12.

The meeting began with Powell School Board Chairman Greg Borcher addressing the audience about what would be covered.

“So far, our board has had several conversations to date on this and one thing we can all agree on is this is an emotional issue,” said Borcher, “no matter what side of the asle you might be on.”

Eight speakers supported the idea of arming district employees, whereas nine were opposed. Six didn’t share their view or hadn’t made their mind up.

“I have three grandkids in the system and my husband Jean and I are 100 percent behind having well trained, armed staff in the schools,” said Judy Braten. “In the 4 to 5 minutes it will take uniformed officers to arrive on the scene, a lot of damage can be done by a shooter. If somebody should be carrying, it should buy time for the officers to arrive.”

Some were quick to denounce arming teachers because they’d need extensive training, and even then, their success rate in an active shooter situation might be low. Scott

Feyhl brought this up along with speaking about a survey conducted on the topic.

“It’s pretty hard to conceal an AR-15,” Feyhl said. “The killing power of most pistols is a mere fraction of what an AR-15 can do.”

The Powell School District was made aware of a credible threat at Powell Middle School on March 24 and was able to work with law enforcement to prevent an incident. Earlier in March, the Cody School District was made aware of a possible threat at Cody High School, but the threat was not substantiated. Also in Cody, the school board voted to pass their concealed carry policy, titled Policy CKA, to its third and final reading. A survey put out in Cody showed about 75 percent of those who responded favor the policy.

Earlier this month, Uinta County became the first district in Wyoming to approve a concealed carry bill.

Powell School Board will further discuss the issue at the April 11 meeting.