House GOP’s School Safety Bill Clears Senate, With Changes

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Senate has passed a bill giving schools some legal protection if staff with a professional gun permit volunteer to respond to a shooting on school grounds.

Senator Dave Rowley, a Republican from Spirit Lake, says 20 Iowa school districts have expressed interest in having policies that allow armed staff on school grounds.

Republican Senator Lynn Evans of Aurelia, a retired superintendent, says parents want school officials to explore every option — including this one — to keep students safe.

The bill passed with the support of 30 Republican senators and opposition from 14 Democrats. If the bill becomes law, school staff who volunteer to seek a professional permit would undergo training, including how to respond to an active shooter. Senator Sarah Trone-Garriott, a Democrat from Waukee, says the required training is not rigorous enough.

Senator Molly Donahue, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who’s a teacher, says the legislature should be taking other kinds of steps to protect students.

The bill won approval in the Iowa House weeks ago, but Senate Republicans removed a section of the bill that would have established state grants for schools that hire private security or police to patrol school buildings. The bill, which goes back to the House for review, still requires Iowa’s largest school districts to have a police officer or private security guard inside each high school building.

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