The issue of arming teachers came up at River Forest’s District 90 school board meeting on Oct. 21.
Judith McDevitt represented the League of Women Voters of Oak Park-River Forest at the D90 meeting. She urged the board to send a delegate to the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) meeting on Nov. 23 to vote against a resolution that would give local school boards the option of arming teachers.
The IASB meets annually to vote on issues the organization will support via legislation.
The resolution was voted down by 24 votes in 2018 in a 203-179 vote. If passed this year, the IASB will support legislation providing local school boards the option of training teachers, administrators and staff and allowing them to carry a firearm while on school property.
D90 Superintendent Edward Condon pointed out that if the resolution is passed, it would allow school districts to participate in firearm training for teachers but would not require it. And the resolution itself would only mean that the IASB would support legislation on the issue, the beginning of a long process.
“But it would be symbolic and meaningful to legislators,” he added.
District 90 board Vice President Barb Hickey said she will serve as a delegate this year as she did in 2018 and will vote against the resolution. Last year’s discussion revolving around the issue, she said, was “valuable and interesting.”
Hickey stated that most of the school districts supporting the resolution in 2018 were from rural communities where 911 response time could be up to half an hour.
“They have different concerns,” she said, adding that she expects a close vote again this year.
All board members expressed their opposition to the resolution.
“Our district does not want guns in our schools,” said Hickey.