Northwest Iowa School Boards Rescind Policies To Arm Individuals, Due To Insurance Issues

Spirit Lake, Iowa — It looks like staff members at Spirit Lake and Cherokee schools won’t be carrying guns after all.

Meeting in special session Thursday evening, the Spirit Lake School Board voted to revise the district’s safety plan because of insurance issues. The revision states in part, “No individuals other than law enforcement shall be authorized to carry firearms on school grounds.” It removes a provision passed on August 22nd of last year that authorized the arming of 10 individuals.

District officials say they met in October of last year with their insurance carrier, EMC, to inform them of the safety plan. They were told there could potentially be cancelation of coverage due to the plan. District officials say that in November of last year, they were notified by the carrier there would be no mid-term cancellation, stating there could be potential non-renewal on July 1st. On February 15th the district notified EMC that authorized individuals had been trained and the new safety plan had been implemented. School officials say no changes occurred with the insurance at that point. However, the district was notified by the carrier on May 15th of this year that coverage would not be renewed because the district “no longer met underwriting guidelines.”

The district’s agent, Central Insurance, then secured quotes for most lines of coverage, including staff firearm legal liability, but as of Thursday, agent Bill Cochran Bray said there was no quote for first-party property insurance. He says the providers cited several factors in their decisions not to provide quotes.

He says that was out of 26 companies that were contacted. Cochran Bray went on to say that leaves the district with just one option.

With one member absent, the board voted four-to-one Thursday evening to revise the safety policy so the district can continue its coverage with EMC.

In a written statement, Spirit Lake’s superintendent said there’s no data suggesting school shootings are going away anytime soon and having armed school employees trained to quickly respond would save more innocent lives if there were an active shooter at the school.

You can read some communication issued by the district immediately following Thursday evening’s meeting by clicking here.

Meeting in special session on Friday morning, the Cherokee School Board also voted to rescind its policy of arming some staff members, also for insurance-related issues similar to what the Spirit Lake Community School District was facing.

Story from Community First Broadcasting sister station KUOO.


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