The Lead

Schuylkill County teachers will continue legal fight against arming school staff

By: - February 14, 2019 12:00 pm

A Schuylkill County judge says she needs more information from a local teachers union before ruling on a policy that would allow employees to carry firearms in schools.

The Tamaqua Education Association said Thursday it will file an amended complaint in the coming days against the Tamaqua School District, which adopted a policy last year permitting some school employees to carry concealed firearms.

Tamaqua’s School Board approved the policy unanimously in September, amid growing concerns about school safety in the wake of high-profile mass shootings. The teachers filed their suit against the district in November.

On Tuesday, a Court of Common Pleas judge told the union it needed to provide additional facts to support their legal “standing” — that is, a sufficient reason to bring a case in court.

A plaintiff can claim standing if they show that a law causes them undue harm or limits their protected freedoms.

The teachers now have 20 days to file an amended complaint.

“We intend to address the court’s concern by filing an amended complaint within the next few days to support our belief that the possession of firearms by insufficiently trained school personnel poses a danger to our members at school,” Frank Wenzel, president of the Tamaqua Education Association, said in a statement.

The Tamaqua policy, which not yet been enacted, is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.

Tamaqua teachers argue that it violates the Pennsylvania School Code, as well as other laws that limit the use of firearms by public employees.

A group of parents are also suing the district.

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Elizabeth Hardison
Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.