Armed employees could cost Kansas schools insurance

6/20/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — The company that insures most of Kansas' school districts says it won't provide coverage for districts that allow armed employees on school premises.

TOPEKA (AP) — The company that insures most of Kansas' school districts says it won't provide coverage for districts that allow armed employees on school premises.

EMC Insurance Companies has told its agents not to offer or renew policies for Kansas school districts that allow concealed weapons under a law that takes effect July 1.

The new law lets school boards designate employees who can bring guns to school provided they have a valid Kansas concealed carry permit. Currently, only law enforcement officers can carry guns on school property. Unless a school board approves a policy permitting staff to carry firearms in schools only law enforcement would be allowed to carry them in buildings.

EMC insures about 90 percent of the state's 286 school districts, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Bernie Zalaznik, EMC's resident vice president in Wichita, said Monday that the company believes the decision is in its best financial interest because of the potential liabilities.

"We understand that school districts have every right to decide which way they want to go," Zalaznik said.

Zalaznik said he had heard from about six districts across Kansas that are interested in allowing employees to carry firearms in schools.

David Shriver, director of the Kansas Association of School Boards' insurance program, said about a dozen small districts have inquired about allowing weapons. KASB is advising all districts not to allow weapons in schools.

No Shawnee County districts said that they planned to take advantage of the new law.

"We haven't discussed it," said Tim Hallacy, Silver Lake Unified School District 372 superintendent. "I don't see that as being a discussion point, and personally I'm not very interested."

Topeka superintendent Julie Ford said the district planned to leave security to the 20 police officers who are in schools on any given day.

EMC insures the Shawnee Heights and Silver Lake districts.

Members of the Wichita school board, the largest district in Kansas, met on Monday and discussed a proposed weapons policy that incorporates existing practices in buildings. The policy, which goes back to the board next week, would mark buildings in the south-central Kansas district as gun-free zones for teachers, employees and the public.

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