The State School Board approved temporary rule that would still require each local school district to have a policy concerning weapons on school premises.

On Thursday, the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted to revise a policy from 1990 regarding weapons on campus. The Board members voted to approve a temporary rule and to begin the Administrative Procedures Act process to revise Miss. Admin. Code 7-3: 97.1. State Board Policy Chapter 97, Rule 97.1 – Weapon.

The State Board’s vote removed language from a policy that conflicted with Mississippi’s 2011 enhanced conceal carry laws. The policy update is part of an ongoing review of State Board policies to make sure all are up to date and in compliance with current law.

According the 1990 policy, each school district should have a policy concerning weapons on school premises and recognized “that the possession of pistols, firearms, or other weapons on school premises or at school functions by persons other than duly authorized law enforcement officials creates an unreasonable and unwarranted risk of injury or death to District employees, students, visitors, and guests and further creates an unreasonable and unwarranted risk of damage to properties of District employees, students, visitors, and guests.”

Erin Meyer, General Counsel for the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), said that the 1990 policy may not prohibit actions otherwise authorized in the state law, meaning the enhanced conceal weapons statues would supersede the SBE policy.

“In 1990, the State Board of Education (SBE) promulgated a policy regarding weapons on campus before any notable school shootings, or the adoption of Mississippi’s enhanced carry laws,” the agenda stated. “The only time this regulation underwent revisions was at the end of December 2015, when the Secretary of State’s new regulations required that the SBE repeal the regulation as Miss. Admin. Code 7-3:9500 and it received its current citation of Miss. Admin. Code 7- 3: 97.1. Based on the adoption of Mississippi’s enhanced carry laws, which authorizes certain licensed individuals to carry concealed weapons into any locations listed in Miss. Code Ann. § 45-9-101(13), which includes any elementary or secondary school facility, the 1990 SBE Policy is in conflict.”

When asked if this revision would allow teachers to carry guns on K-12 campuses, Meyer said that this revision to the policy puts it in the hands of the local district to draft a policy, thus the superintendent and the school board would set a policy on what restrictions and permissions are allowed as it relates to weapons on campus. 

“The temporary rule and final action are necessary to implement the policy revisions immediately upon its filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with Miss. Code Ann. § 25-43-3.113(2)(b)(ii). See also Miss. Code Ann. § 25-43-3.108. For a rule to become effective immediately upon its filing, the Board is required to make a finding that the rule only confers a benefit or removes a restriction on the public or some segment thereof,” the agenda continued.