Gov. Jay Nixon today sent a letter to the superintendents of each of Missouri's 520 public school districts affirming his continued top priority to keeping schools safe, and stating his clear opposition to recently introduced legislation that would arm teachers by taking away the authority of local school districts to keep guns out of the classroom.
The Governor referenced the Dec. 14 mass shooting of children and educators in Newtown, Conn.: "As we come together to mourn the loss of these precious lives, we must also come together to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our communities, and especially our schools, from these types of heinous acts."
Speaking from his experience as Governor for four years and as the state's Attorney General for 16 years, Gov. Nixon said Missouri already has strong laws in place:
"Here in Missouri we have a strong framework of laws to protect students and educators, such as the Missouri Safe Schools Act, which passed with broad bipartisan support in 1996. Current law also allows local school boards to prohibit guns in their classrooms. This is a time-tested and solid foundation that we should reinforce, not undermine.
"That is why I have serious concerns about recently introduced legislation that proposes not only to arm teachers, but to do so by taking away the authority of local school districts to keep guns out of classrooms. More can and should be done to enhance school safety, but this legislation would put our children at risk and limit the ability of local school districts to keep their schools safe. Putting loaded weapons in classrooms is quite simply the wrong approach to a serious issue that demands careful analysis and thoughtful solutions."
The Governor concluded his letter by thanking the superintendents for their commitment to schoolchildren, and told them that in the days and weeks ahead, he would engage with Missourians to find common sense solutions to keep Missouri schools safe.