MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Mississippi Board of Education has voted to revise a state board policy that prohibited weapons on school campuses.
The board voted to revise Rule 97.1 of the Mississippi State Board of Education Policy Manual. The policy, adopted in 1990, prohibited anyone other than “duly authorized law enforcement officials” from carrying a weapon on a school campus. The policy also required local school districts to create a policy regarding weapons.
Parents WREG talked with are split.
“I’m kind of scared of a gun if a teacher have a gun. What if a teacher have a bad day and it can be ugly with a student or something?” Reuben Corley said. “What if that gun get loose or something happen?”
“With the right training I’m for it,” Robert Clay said. “I prefer having somebody on mine and my children’s side with a weapon rather than some stupid fellow he the only one with a gun he shooting people at random.”
During Thursday’s Mississippi Board of Education meeting, Mississippi Department of Education General Counsel Erin Meyer said the 1990 policy conflicts with a Mississippi state law.
Mississippi state law, as outlined in House Bill 1083, currently allows people who have an “enhanced firearm license” and extra training to carry a weapon on public property.
The bill also states that any law “that has the effect of limiting the locations on public property” where a person may carry a weapon will have no effect.
Meyer and Orderly Schools Director Brian McGarity requested the approval of a temporary rule that would allow the 1990 policy be immediately revised to allow guns on campus. Meyer said the requested revision would bring the State Board policy in compliance with Mississippi state law.
Meyer said state law would supersede Mississippi State Board policy regardless.
State Board policy would still require Mississippi school districts to create regulations regarding weapons on campus.
Thursday evening, the Mississippi Department of Education sent a release explaining the State Board’s vote.
MDE is offering this clarification in response to some media reports that misinterpreted the intent and effect of the State Board’s vote. The State Board has taken no action to allow guns in schools. The State Board’s action does not give school personnel the ability to carry guns in schools.
Rather, the State Board’s vote today removed language from a policy that conflicted with Mississippi’s 2011 enhanced conceal carry laws. The policy update is part of an ongoing review of State Board policies to make sure all are up to date and in compliance with current law.
Today’s State Board policy update still requires local school districts to establish policies regarding weapons on campus. In reviewing their current policies, local school districts should consult with their board attorney to ensure compliance with federal and state law.
State Senator Michael McClendon of DeSoto County questions if school districts even have the power to prohibit the practice since it’s state law.
“Whether the school boards will have that power or not to supersede state law that will be an attorney general’s opinion,” Sen. McClendon said. “I’m afraid I can see this coming.”