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Proposal for School Marshals in Washington State

The following proposal for School Marshals in Washington state is republished from the March 15, 2018 Spokesman Review.

There are once again many heated discussions about how to stop the carnage in our schools. A few years ago, we led a group of trial attorneys through an analysis of what it will take for Washington state school districts to seriously tackle the issue of protecting schools. It is apparent that Parkland School District in Florida will have to pay huge sums for its failure to anticipate mass murder that was very foreseeable.

School Marshals- Not Teachers with guns. Many school boards and legislatures in other states have already embarked on a policy of authorizing armed personnel within school premises. Federal and Washington state law both leave it up to school boards to designate who will be armed in Washington schools. Nevertheless, most educators and school boards flatly reject proposals for arming teachers with guns.

There is reason to believe that some Washington state schools are already taking quiet steps, however. Teachers who choose to undertake the training and responsibility of being a school marshal should not be denied the same opportunity to serve as certified School Marshals that we are proposing for other qualified personnel.

Public Duty Doctrine It should not be a surprise to anyone that such matters are insurance driven. Washington state’s Public Duty Doctrine dictates that a policy decision not to deploy armed protection in the schools exposes school districts to very low levels of liability. That is because it is a pure policy decision and therefore immune from liability for almost any accidents that occur.

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