Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.
The State Board of Education discussed a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist last night but took no action. The conversation took place behind closed doors, which is standard practice for personnel matters.
At least 200 people attended the public portion of the board meeting, some to testify in opposition to Gist and others to speak on a controversial measure to arm state college police. The board passed the measure on campus police, allowing each state university to make its own decision about arming campus police forces.
State colleges and universities in Rhode Island can now arm campus police after a vote Thursday night at the State Board of Education. Critics said more guns on campus will not make students safer, but supporters, including University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, said campus police should carry guns to do their jobs more effectively.
Dooley said he believes arming police is logical decision for URI.
As Rhode Island grapples with high school diplomas tied to test scores, Massachusetts students have faced a similar requirement for a decade. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison visited Attleboro High School to find out how high-stakes testing has changed what’s being taught.