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Teachers offered training as reserve officers

DELTON, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As the gun debate rages on across the country, a West Michigan school district is giving teachers an option to pack heat in the classroom.

The news comes out at a time when House Democrats are working on unveiling their proposal to curb gun violence in the U.S.

Some of the 15 proposals include requiring background checks for every single gun sale, banning assault weapons, restricting the size of gun magazines, putting more federal dollars toward mental health research, and improving school safety.

The agenda closely mirrors executive actions released by President Obama last month.

Some staff members at Delton-Kellogg schools aren't waiting for safety measures to kick in, though.

Newschannel 3 talked to a few teachers working on bringing guns into their classrooms.

While it's still very early in the process--there is no district policy yet--the Barry Township Police Chief says the school board and administrators are supporting the idea.

They're training teachers and administrators to be reserve police officers, which would allow them to sidestep many civilian laws.

"I approached them, but we've had a good working relationship with Delton-Kellogg," said Chief Victor Pierce of the training. "They were outstanding."

Chief Pierce thought it up in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, when Governor Snyder refused to sign legislation that would have allowed concealed weapons in schools.

That won't matter to anyone taking the reserve officer training course, once they're sworn in.

"A reserve officer can carry anywhere and there would be no restrictions,"  Chief Pierce said.

The Chief told Newschannel 3 that the district selected candidates from a pool of volunteers at each school.

Once their training is complete, though, a concealed weapon will simply be one of the tools at their disposal in the event of a mass shooting.

It's all one community's response to a national horror they're not willing to fall victim to.

Any teacher or administrator taking part will be issued a department firearm to carry in school, and will be required to get continuous training.

The school district does not yet have any written policy on the move, but this is week 4 of a 12 week officer reserve training course.

Chief Pierce says he's hoping to have concealed weapons in the schools shortly after the course ends.