Mass shooting in Florida reignites debate about arming teachers at Kingsburg High School

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
KINGSBURG, Calif. (KFSN) -- In small towns across America, police and teachers are all trying to learn from Parkland Florida, that includes Kingsburg Police Chief Niel Dadian.

"If there was someone there who was armed and was able to stop the threat, lives would have been saved," said Dadian.

Two years ago, the chief worked with the superintendent to make the Kingsburg School District one of the few in the state that armed teachers.

Supporters argued the proactive response made the campus safer. The state legislature disagreed--ultimately passing a law that banned all firearms at school.

"I think it was an advantage that the state legislature took away from local communities, and they should have left it at the local level," said Dadian.

The chief still stands by the district's decision.

Under the policy, up to five employees could carry a concealed firearm.

They had to go through strict training and their names were kept anonymous.

"As long as they are trained and know how to use a firearm. I think it is the best idea," said parent Dana Wood.

But then and now, some parents are still skeptical of the idea.

"In Parkland, they had an armed guard and he couldn't get to the guy. You never know what's going to happen, but adding guns is not going to help, more people are going to get injured," said parent Kimbi Sigle.

Chief Dadian knows it is unlikely that California will reverse its decision, even among national discussion.

He says other valuable lessons can be taken from this tragedy, including mental health and other missed signals.
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