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Washington will not arm teachers, says state superintendent

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal says Washington will not arm teachers.

Washington state will not arm teachers, according to state superintendent Chris Reykdal.

He released a statement Thursday in response to reports that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would consider using federal funding for firearm training in schools.

Reykdal's statement says, "I will not authorize, permit, or distribute any resources to support efforts to arm teachers. State law is clear that our schools are gun-free zones for teachers and students."

The New York Times reported the Education Department was looking into using an existing federal grant to pay for firearms and firearm training, an idea previously supported by President Trump.

Reykdal closed his statement by saying: "I have been in public K–12 and higher education for 28 years, and I have never seen a more destructive and dangerous policy contemplation by a U.S. Secretary of Education. Washington state will not participate!"

Full Superintendent Reykdal's full statement here

In Eastern Washington, the Toppenish School District on the Yakima Reservation has been allowing educators to carry concealed firearms on campus since 2014.

Toppenish High School Prinicipal Shawn Meyers spoke to KING 5 in February. He grew up in Toppenish, has two kids in the district, and knows many of the people in this small community.

"As an administrator, someone who's in charge of this building and 950 kids, I want to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect them," Meyers said.

It's unclear if Reykdal's stance will have an impact on the handful of Eastern Washington schools that allow concealed carry.

READ MORE: How one WA school district is already arming administrators

The Dayton School District, also in Eastern Washington, is arming teachers with a different weapon. Instead of guns, the district issued tee-ball bats and training.

Former Washington State Patrol Trooper John Ladines conducted the training, "Under stress, almost everyone can swing a stick."

However, a spokesperson for the Washington Education Association voiced his opposition to arming teachers in any fashion.

WEA spokesperson Rich Wood said, “Solving the epidemic of gun violence in our country is way more complicated than giving teachers baseball bats or guns."

READ MORE: Teachers get tee-ball bats to protect students in Eastern Washington district

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