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Cody schools finalize weapons rules

CODY — After months of buildup, the policy known as CKA became a rule last Thursday without fanfare.

Only two people spoke, both in favor of the rule. In addition to a two-year review, trustees were required to make the policy a rule after a change in the state statute.

The review the concerning concealed carry rule for Cody School District employees had been ongoing for several months. That’s why board chair Brandi Nelson said she thinks the final passage of the rule wasn’t as divisive as it was two years ago when it was proposed: all the comments had already been made.

“The board was very proactive,” she said. “We had multiple meetings. There was plenty of opportunity for public input.”

That isn’t to say there wasn’t debate over the new rule. In the spring, the trustees discussed who should and should not be eligible to carry, including lay coaches (coaches not employed by the district in another capacity, such as being a teacher) and bus drivers.

While lay coaches ultimately were not removed from the list of eligible concealed carry candidates, bus drivers were after trustees voiced concern over the difficulty of ensuring a driver had the weapon properly concealed and secured at all times.

Another major change came from the State of Wyoming, amending its statutes to allow not only contracted staff but any district employee to carry on school grounds with the proper training.

Coupled with that change, the board decided to increase the required length of time staff be with the district from two to five consecutive years to apply, though it also included the possibility of making an exception to that rule.

New to the rule is a requirement for staff to annually re-certify and receive refresher training on the use of their weapon. Board members also cleaned up the language around what handguns can be used.

Though there were in total some 740 revisions to the five-page policy, the vast majority of those revisions were minor tweaks to spelling, grammar and organization.

To date, the rule has cost the district just under $11,000, nearly all of which came in the first year it was enacted. In the 2019-2020 budget year, the district spent just $256.25 on the rule, which Superintendent Peg Monteith said was due to there being fewer applicants.