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State task force discusses school safety across Idaho

The state’s Safe Schools Task Force met in Boise Thursday to discuss security measures in school districts across Idaho.

The 14-member group includes Bonneville District 93’s safety coordinator, Guy Bliesner.

In its first meeting, the group tackled everything from key vulnerabilities, to how schools are prepared to react to a crisis, and if teachers should be armed.

While Idaho law prohibits firearms on campuses, local school boards have the power to allow certain employees to carry. But Bliesner said arming teachers isn’t the only option.

“You are three times more likely to be struck by lightning than be a victim of a mass shooting event,” said Bliesner. “But statistics don’t matter if it happens in your building. Statistics don’t matter if it’s you.”

But every school district has different needs and there are only two school districts in the state that have a designated security coordinator — Bonneville and Boise.

That’s why the task force discussed creating a repository of security knowledge each district can easily access.

“It’s early discussion but it’s the ability for an administrator to go somewhere that he knows the best practices are online and available to him.”

Governor Otter set aside $150,000 for the task force. Bliesner said that money will most likely be used to evaluate each school district and asses security levels.

“Somebody asked me how many kids I had the other day and I told them 10, 853,” said Bliesner. “All of the kids in this district are my kids. My job is to protect them and that’s the statutory requirement of a school, to protect the kids in their charge.”

The task force will meet again in early February.

Bliesner said the group will begin coming up with recommendations, but will not be presenting any legislation this year.

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