Gun-carrying teachers: Workers’ Comp carriers OK, so far

Weapons and tactical training are key

Workers’ compensation implications come into play when contemplating the practice of arming teachers to respond to the threat of a school shooting. Workplace safety is also an issue. But, for now, the insurance industry is generally still covering the exposure.

Attorneys that represent school districts look for things that can go wrong. The first step in mitigating a risk is requiring all applicants to have a concealed carry permit.

Being qualified to carry

Applicants with knowledge of and experience with guns are also something that is considered. This lowers the chances of injury to themselves or someone else. A military background typically improves a candidate’s chances for approval.

Of course, not all applicants are approved.

South Dakota requires all accepted applicants to undergo 80 hours of police academy training.  Ohio requires applicants to take the three-day FASTER Saves Lives course, a course designed after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. FASTER training is similar to that which police undergo prior to an event that could include an active shooter. The aim is not to train teachers to be police officers, but rather what to do when armed if an active shooter event occurs. Focal points include, among other things, the correct tactics to take when turning a corner or entering a room.

The risks involved

Logical thinking says the workers’ comp risk is a teacher hurting him/herself during a shooting incident. At the every least, an accidental discharge of a firearm is a risk no matter how much training the teacher undergoes.

But experts point out that the training they undergo presents a bigger risk.

Such injuries, however rare, should be expected given the fact that police themselves suffer injuries when engaged in such training.

All exposures have qualifiers and writing a policy for teachers to carry concealed weapons is no different. But there’s been no pushback from the workers’ compensation industry regarding teachers being trained for carrying weapons on campus. But once claims begin being filed, that would likely change.

Looking ahead

Every state dictates whether school districts allow teachers to carry or have access to firearms on campus – not all have passed such legislation. To date there is no official count of how many schools currently permit concealed weapons. But the tragic high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead prompted President Trump to endorse the arming of teachers. He specified that the teachers should be firearms adept and undergo annual training.

The arguments for and against arming teachers are myriad. It’s not a decision that should be made lightly.

Source: Louise Esola. “Gun safety spreads to schools.” Business Journal. May, 2018.
Posted By: