ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) – On Thursday, the criminal justice committee will vote on a plan allowing guns at schools.
Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch amended the bill to say any person with a concealed carry permit would be allowed to have a firearm on school property. He said because permit holders are trained and meet a set of guidelines, they may help stop a threat at a school.
But some school leaders at the School District of Altoona say that won’t make it any safer but rather do the exact opposite.
“I think that anytime you’re bringing guns in schools, it's a danger for everybody involved,” said Superintendent Dr. Connie Biedron.
She said allowing guns in school, whether the person is trained or not, could still lead to problems.
“Would students be afraid when they see people with guns at schools? Or if they're in a big crowd, could somebody grab it? There's all those issues,” said Biedron. “It's not to say that people that have the permits aren't justified to have the permits, I know it's legal now but it's just bringing more chance of something happening at the school.”
Gov. Scott Walker wouldn’t say whether he was for or against the bill yet.
“I don’t know enough about it. There's hundreds of bills we don’t' get to read the ones that haven't at least gotten through one of the two house,” said Walker.
Biedron said safety is the number one concern at her schools, but bringing in guns won’t be the answer. At the beginning of last year, the school district locked all the doors and had buzzers at the main entrances. Visitors must identify themselves and get a pass from the office.
“We've taken steps to ensure safety,” said Biedron. “We have crisis plans in place that are reviewed, we practice drills - practicing drills so students feel safe as well as they know what to do incase there’s some kind of incident,” she said.
Kleesfisch says there aren't enough votes in the republican-controlled committee for the bill to pass.. But he says he hopes to spark a conversation about school safety.
Biedron says those talks can happen without this bill.
“We can create a conversation about school safety pretty easily,” she said.
The amendment would need at least five votes to be added to the bill and then it has to clear through the assembly and senate before it goes to Gov. Walker for his signature.