Ann Arbor school officials vote to ban weapons in schools except for police

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education has unanimously voted to ban weapons in school buildings, a move that could be challenged in court by gun rights advocates.

The board met on Wednesday evening and voted just after midnight. The issue has been a hot topic of debate since a man with a concealed pistol license brought a gun into Pioneer High School during a choir concert and a disruption ensued.

Under a new policy, a weapon in a school constitutes an emergency, The Ann Arbor News reported. If anyone but a law enforcement official carries a gun into an Ann Arbor school, administrators will ask the person to leave and call the police.

The decision toughens the district's weapons-free policy despite Michigan law, which says any resident who has a concealed pistol license may legally openly carry a gun into a school. It comes amid debate about whether it's appropriate to openly carry firearms in schools.

School board member Christine Stead said officials decided that teachers and administrators shouldn't have to assess whether a person has a license and if they are a danger or a threat.

Joshua Wade, who brought the gun to the concert on March 5, says the board has no right to ban guns. He said he usually carries a concealed handgun and on Wednesday he told the board that there is a real possibility that he would need to defend his life at a school.

The state Legislature could address this issue this year. Meanwhile, board members have acknowledged the possibility of a lawsuit with the policy.

"There may be potential risks, but we are willing to stay together and address those risks on behalf of children," said Trustee Susan Baskett. "We don't tolerate guns or weapons."

Also this week, a lawyer for Clio Area Schools said the district in that community was within its rights to ban guns from district buildings despite a lawsuit that said the schools violated state law allowing certain people to openly carry firearms on school property.

The district filed its response Monday to a lawsuit filed by the father of an elementary student, The Flint Journal reported. Kenneth Herman sued in March in Genesee County Circuit Court, saying he was denied access to Edgerton Elementary multiple times because he was open carrying a pistol.

Published: Fri, Apr 17, 2015