Peace-church colleges wrestle with having armed guards

Schools seek nonviolent alternatives
In the wake of shooting rampages at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University that together left nearly 40 people dead, several colleges that previously relied on unarmed security staff—such as Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan—have taken steps to allow armed guards on campus. Many colleges already do.

But at schools affiliated with the historic peace churches—the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers—the question of guns on campus has prompted deep levels of soul-searching on how to simultaneously embrace nonviolence and keep students and staff safe.

Trustees at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, which traces its roots to the Church of the Brethren, voted in April to authorize security guards to carry guns on the campus that is home to 1,460 students. It’s the second Brethren-related school to adopt armed guards; five other Brethren schools have not.


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