Task Force suggest every Missouri school should have armed officers

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JEFFERSON CITY —   Gov. Mike Parson released a report Wednesday suggesting every Missouri public school should employ armed protection to keep children safe from active shooters.

After four months of work, a special task force headed by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe recommended the idea as one piece of an overall plan designed to keep students safe and to help them cope with the emotional strain if something does happen.

A federal panel spent much of 2018 conducting a similar review of school safety measures and released its report in December. The group used the federal government's school safety report commissioned in the wake of the 2018 deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, as a template for asking Missourians about how to keep schools safe.

“Where economically feasible and embraced by local governance, schools should have the benefit of an armed school resource officer or an armed school protection officer in every school to provide an immediate response in the event of an active shooter situation,” the report noted.

The panel, which included school and law enforcement officials and mental health professionals, began meeting in April at the request of Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

The report does not call for a statewide plan to be adopted by all school districts. Rather, it said specific details should be dictated at the local level in response to local needs.

“Missouri schools are each unique. What works very well in an urban or affluent school to promote school safety may not be possible in a rural or economically challenged school,” the report noted.

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