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Pepper spray remains legal at Blackhawk Technical College

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 27, 2011
— Students will be able to carry pepper spray in their purses or pockets at Blackhawk Technical College even as other weapons are banned from college buildings.

The BTC Board on Wednesday voted for a new weapons policy. Like most other local governments and schools, BTC will ban firearms from its buildings under the state’s new concealed-carry law.


BTC officials had originally proposed that pepper spray be banned as well.


BTC President Tom Eckert said pepper spray was removed from the proposed list of banned weapons after The Gazette raised the issue and officials discussed it.


“We thought, no, that wasn’t the intent of the law,” Eckert said. “Pepper spray is not a lethal weapon. It’s primarily personal protection.


“When we have night classes and that sort of thing, it makes more sense that a woman can carry that as an added safety feature.”


The law allows people to keep firearms in their cars, so students and staff may keep them in their cars in BTC’s parking lots, Eckert said.


“All we ask is that they case them or put them out of sight so there’s not a temptation,” he said.


Board member Kevin Leavy said he was concerned that weapons kept in vehicles could easily find their way into a building in the hands of an angry person.


The new law, however, requires that firearms may be stored in vehicles, even if they are parked at a college.


BTC’s policy bans firearms, concealed or otherwise, from buildings and “outdoor learning environments and other locations where college-sponsored events are held.”


The ban includes any weapon that can expel a projectile as well as knives, bows and arrows, swords, stun guns, batons “or other items, which, in their intended use, are capable of inflicting serious injury.”


Exceptions are made for weapons approved as part of educational programs, such as BTC’s police academy or carried by law enforcement officers or when the college grants written permission.


Signs warning of the weapons ban will be posted on BTC buildings over the next several days.


In other business, the board approved the upgrade of a nursing instructor position from half-time to full-time to help with continued strong demand in the associate-degree nursing program. Cost this school year will be about $46,000.



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