Shawnee Mission looking to make gun locks available for pick up at schools

Shawnee Mission Director of Safety and Security John Douglass. File photo.

As part of its continuing efforts to provide the safest and most secure learning environments possible, the Shawnee Mission School District’s police department is mounting an effort to promote gun safety within the homes of students.

The district will be encouraging families to lock guns and store them in secure locations.

Giving an update on the department’s current strategy and tactics to the board of education this week, Director of Safety and Security John Douglass said that staff will be working with schools to promote a “culture of safety” that extends beyond the school building.

Part of that push will be encouraging parents to lock gun cabinets in their homes and otherwise secure weapons. The district is also hoping to make free gun locks available for pick up through school buildings in the coming months.

Douglass said that while much work has been done to allow schools to create a secure perimeter in the case of an active shooter situation — which he noted are still exceptionally rare — there needs to be a focus on preventing kids’ access to firearms.

“Our homes are our first line of defense toward school incidents,” Douglass said. “By working on getting safety devices for our parents, by teaching them the importance of keeping those things safe and secure, by working with them, in addition to the very good work they have done in the area of reporting threats and giving us information, we can make the perimeter of the school building extend clear out to their houses. And that’s a major goal of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Douglass told the board that the plan was to work directly through each school building to communicate the importance of keeping firearms secure, and that the department was exploring options for getting free gun locks that schools could make available to families at events.