Years ago, working in custodial services required tools such as brooms, mops and buckets, but the industry has changed. Technology has simplified cleaning practices, but changing with the times might have changed the role custodians play, specifically as armed janitors begin patrolling school halls.

In addition to those traditional cleaning tools, school custodians might soon see revolvers added to their arsenal. Lawmakers are suggesting arming school employees as a line of defense, but is the industry ready for that?

The idea that armed janitors in school-based custodial operations might conceal carry on campus is so new that even some of the industry’s largest cleaning associations haven’t taken a position on the subject.

The custodial industry might not be ready for this discussion, but it’s a topic schools across the country are already talking about. For example, lawmakers in South Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri and South Dakota are already looking into legislation allowing school employees with permits to conceal carry. There are also plans brewing in the California state legislature and with the Texas lieutenant governor that authorize school districts to use federal and state funds to train and qualify school staff to carry concealed firearms.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, where 20 students and six adults lost their lives in a mass shooting, more schools have begun considering such a policy, and some have already taken action. Earlier this year, the Montpelier (Ohio) Exempted Village Schools Board of Education approved on a 5-0 vote the carrying of handguns by school staff, including custodial workers.

“We assessed how secure our school really was, and realized we were lying to ourselves if we thought cameras and buzzer systems offered enough protection,” says Montpelier Superintendent Jamie Grime. “So we decided to take action.”

Though media outlets have reported this measure allowed four custodians to carry handguns on campus, Grime emphasizes that he has never gone on record identifying who is carrying weapons to school.

“I haven’t disclosed who is carrying,” he says. “I will say that I have some employees, with law enforcement and military backgrounds, who are being allowed to carry a weapon on campus to provide added security in the school.”

As schools are targeted and legislators continue to pass bills, the day may soon arrive when custodians across the country arm themselves with more than cleaning supplies on school grounds. In the meantime, some schools do already have armed janitors patrolling school halls.

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Allowing Concealed Carry In Schools