The superintendent for a rural Wyoming school cited by education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos in Tuesday’s Senate confirmation hearing says they have no guns for grizzly bear at Wapiti School.
Ray Schulte, superintendent for Park County School District No. 6, told CNN Wednesday he was at the school board meeting Tuesday night when he got word one of their local school had been mentioned by DeVos.
“I noticed the gal mentioned Wapiti School,” he said.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who represents Sandy Hook, the site of the 2012 school shooting, had asked DeVos if she believed guns have “any place in and around schools.”
“I think that is best left to locales and states to decide,” she said.
After Murphy pushed DeVos, she brought up a story Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi told about a school with has fences around it to protect against grizzly bears.
“I will refer back to Sen. Enzi and the school he is talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine there is probably a gun in a school to protect from potential grizzlies,” she said.
Schulte said it’s against state law to have guns at school.
“We do not allow weapons on school property,” he said.
But Schulte said they do have two schools with 10-foot mesh fences to ward off large animals.
“They put up a wildlife fence about 10-15 years ago,” he said, adding there are cougar and grizzly in the area.
Wapiti School has 10 students and is located about 25 miles outside of Yellowstone National Park.
“There’s a lot of bear out there. I talked to people who go out and see five and six in one day,” Schulte said. “We had a guy in this part of the country working in a hay field and he got mauled.”
The two schools in the district with wildlife fences are Wapiti and Valley Elementary. Both are in the mountains and pretty isolated, he said.
“There are so few people who live up there and it’s not practical to bus those kids to Cody so we put a teacher up there,” the superintendent said, adding that “grizzly bear … travel through there.”
After hearing DeVos mentioned the Wapiti school, the superintendent went on the internet to read about it. To his knowledge, it’s the first time his school with 10 kids has been mentioned in a congressional hearing.
Grizzlies are currently in hibernation, noted Schulte.