Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guns in Clarksville schools not an insurance issue, superintendent says

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

WALTHER PPS: To be carried in Clarksville schools by staff.
  • WALTHER PPS: To be carried in Clarksville schools by staff.
An item yesterday about the Clarksville School District's plan to have more than 20 teaches and staff members carry concealed weapons next school year as a security measure prompted a lot of discussion yesterday, including on the topic of insurance.

In Kansas, a major insurance company has said it will not insure schools that allow district employees to carry weapons. It prefers that people with guns be uniformed, qualified law enforcement officers. Clarksville has provided security guard training and additional weapons training for its staff members, but they will be carrying concealed weapons and they will continue normal duties, not work solely on security.

I asked Superintendent David Hopkins about insurance and he sent this repsonse by e-mail:

I have spoke with them and as of now there is not an issue. I don't expect one either.

The insurance is through the Arkansas School Boards Association. But it's only an "error and omissions" policy, not a liability policy. Most districts in Arkansas don't carry liability because there's no legal imperative to do so. As agents of the state, they enjoy tort immunity from lawsuit, as do employees acting in official capacities. If a terrible accident were to occur because of guns on campus, attorneys might attempt to dream up ways to sue, but their likely avenue would have to be the state Claims Commission. Other states don't offer the same degree of legal protection to schools.

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