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A proposed revision to the District 65 policy manual that would allow persons licensed to carry concealed weapons to keep those weapons in their cars, properly stored in their cars, in school parking lots caused a wave of concern at the April 1 Policy Committee meeting. The State of Illinois’ concealed-carry law allows licensed firearm owners to do that, despite a general gun ban in safe school zones.

The Illinois Association of School Boards suggested language that should be inserted into school districts’ policy manuals. The language would revise section 8:30 of the District’s policies, “Visitors to and Conduct on School Property.”

The current language of section 8:30 states: “Unless specifically permitted by State law, [no person on school property or at a school event (including visitors, students and employees) shall … ] possess a weapon, any object that can be reasonably considered a weapon or looks like a weapon, or any dangerous device.”

The language proposed by the Illinois Association of School Boards adds the exception: “however, an individual licensed to carry a concealed firearm under the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act is permitted to carry a concealed firearm within a vehicle into a parking area controlled by a school or District and may store a firearm or ammunition concealed in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view within the vehicle in the parking area.”

Board member Candance Chow said, “I’m pretty concerned that we’re putting children at risk.” The Policy Committee plans to draft a letter opposing that exception and present it at the April 14 School Board meeting. If approved the letter would be sent to State Senator Daniel Biss and State Representatives Robyn Gabel and Laura Fine.