On this day back in 2023, IFC met with Governor Kim Reynolds.  Our Chair, John McLaughlin, accompanied me and met with Governor Reynolds to discuss the matter of school security, an issue of great concern to her as well as to IFC. John and I explained how the only way to keep casualties to a minimum in the event of an attempted mass school shooting is to confront the perpetrator with force within the first thirty to sixty seconds. The only effective means of ensuring that ability is to have quick response security team members (trained and armed staff) dispersed throughout the school.

We also discussed with her how some pioneering schools that had already begun to select, extensively train, and arm non-teaching staff had been forced to abort their programs in order to maintain their insurance coverage. IFC told the Governor that we viewed that as a speedbump, rather than a roadblock, to this project.

A year later, the legislature passed and Governor Reynolds signed, the Students First Safety Act, which is intended to enhance school security in Iowa. It does this in large part by granting qualified immunity for the use of reasonable force to schools and their armed staff members who meet certain stringent requirements for initial and recurring training. Already, we are seeing indications that the Students First Safety Act is likely to bring new players into the marketplace for insuring Iowa’s schools. Such competition will undoubtedly be good for all.

It is past time for Iowans to protect our students – and school staff – in the same way we do elected officials, sporting events, concerts and other mass gatherings, etc. A significant number of schools have already expressed an interest in exploring this concept. IFC expects that as the necessary training becomes more widely available, many schools will eventually adopt quick-response security teams. We certainly hope so. We owe it to our children.

-Richard Rogers – IFC Board and Chief Lobbyist