PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) – On July 21, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced that the state board voted to revise a policy prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms on school campuses.
The vote centered on the wording of a 1990 policy prohibiting “the possession of pistols, firearms or weapons in any form by anyone other than duly authorized law enforcement officials on school premises or at school receptions”. The council said the language conflicts with the state’s enhanced concealed carry policy.
The review is part of ongoing policy reviews aimed at bringing education policies in line with state laws.
Erin Meyer, general counsel for MDE, said the 11-year policy predates the recent increase in school shootings and the passage of the state’s enhanced transportation permits.
In a clarifying press release, the MDE said the vote only removes prohibitive language and does not directly allow individuals to carry firearms on school grounds.
“Today’s State Board policy update continues to require local school districts to establish policies regarding weapons on campus,” reads the MDE statement. “When reviewing their current policies, local school districts should consult with their board’s attorney to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.”
According to a 2013 opinion written by former Attorney General Jim Hood, school districts can impose certain restrictions on who can carry guns and where they are allowed. However, they cannot outright ban people with an Enhanced Transport Permit.
“A school district may, at its discretion, prohibit its employees who hold enhanced transportation licenses from possessing weapons while at school. Alternatively, a school district may, at its discretion, permit its employees with enhanced carry licenses to carry weapons and may expend funds to have such employees trained for this purpose.
“Others with an Enhanced Transportation Permit can enter school facilities without violating concealed weapons laws; and can enter the public areas of these schools without being subject to a possible charge of trespassing. School districts may prohibit persons, including persons with Enhanced Transportation Permits, from areas of the school where the general public is not permitted.
Brian McGarity, director of MDE’s Office of Safe and Orderly Schools, told the board that his office is in the preliminary stages of developing a course to keep campus safe and hold individuals accountable when they go. on public school campuses.
The revisions and the temporary policy adopted by the vote of the board will take effect immediately.
If 10 or more Mississippi residents issue requests for a public hearing, MDE must authorize a public hearing within 20 days of the department filing the notice of rule change with the office of the Mississippi Secretary of State. . The public will also have 25 days after filing to make public comments.
For more information and to stay up to date with updates, visit the MDE website here.
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