Peoria school district buys stun guns for security officers

PEORIA, Illinois — Peoria Public School district has purchased stun guns for security officers, who have been trained and certified to use them.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that until sweeping changes to Illinois state law take effect to allow the district to revive a campus police force with arrest powers and firearms, the district is arming school security officers with an alternative weapon — Tasers.

The weapons have been purchased and security officers have been trained and certified in their use, according to PPS Director of Safety Demario Boone. But Tasers won’t be distributed until the district purchases insurance and the school board approves a policy on when and how to use them.

The proposed policy includes details on issues including what to consider before using a stun gun, what makes use necessary, where to aim the stun gun and how use should be documented and reported.

Doug Shaw and Robert “Beto” Davison Aviles, the two board members who serve on the policy committee, agreed they want clarification on the length of annual training, how Tasers and their data are stored, and how they’re deployed.

“And help me understand how a pre-kindergarten person needs to be tased,” asked Davison Aviles.

Pre-kindergarten students were listed in the draft policy’s “special deployment considerations,” which lists groups of people who should not be tased unless there are no other options. The categories include students in pre-K to eighth grade, pregnant females, elderly individuals, people who are already restrained, and people whose position or activity may result in collateral injury, such as falls from height or an operating vehicle.

Illinois state law currently prohibits school security officers from carrying firearms in schools. Peoria schools Director of Safety Demario Boone says school security officers need an option. He says “they’re not armed, they’ve had knives pulled on them.”