SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (KCAU) — The Spirit Lake School Board Meeting approved to arm staff in a new Emergency Response Plan Monday night. This comes after residents spoke at the special meeting.

The Emergency Response Plan (EPR) was revised after the board’s approval in August and September to arm selected staff members, and on Monday, local residents shared their opinions for the first time since the local police chief came out against the plan.

The school board held Monday’s meeting to share its Emergency Response Plan with the community. Each of the 25 residents that requested to make public comment was given 2 minutes to do so.

The school district confirmed nearly 200 people expressed support for the school’s safety plan, compared to just over 100 people who opposed it. On Monday, the feedback was present. A father with kids in the district voiced his support for both the safety plan and the district.

“I want to thank the staff for all the work they’ve put into the safety plan, and I’d like to show my support in the safety plan. I think Spirit Lake schools are full of staff that have dedicated their entire lives to children,” said parent John Hight.

The feedback was collected over more than seven days. Carissa Janssen is a Special Education teacher at Spirit Lake Middle School. She said she supported the decision to arm staff members.

“I think it will. It has a little bit of a, I don’t know, not exactly a fear factor, but it kind of puts everyone into perspective that we have this under control,” said Janssen.

Community members expressed concerns about the plan however the majority defended the plan.

The board voted unanimously to approve the plan Monday night.

Classroom teachers and bus drivers will not have guns, armed staff can leave their gun at school or take it home with them and the school district is still considering adding an Anonymous Tip Line.