Superintendent Speaks on Gun Issue - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Superintendent Speaks on Gun Issue

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The superintendent who announced his retirement after admitting he had brought a gun to school last week says he knows he was wrong.

D'Wayne Johnston's resignation was accepted by the Tioga School Board on Friday.

Jim Olson talked with Johnston, and the head of the school board today.

(D'Wayne Johnston, Tioga Superintendent) "I broke the law."

Tioga Superintendent D'Wayne Johnston doesn't want to be on camera - but he's not sugar coating what he did last week.

(D'Wayne Johnston, Tioga Superintendent) "I knew it wasn't right to have a weapon in school on my person. Very simple."

So why did he bring a gun to school? He says in ordering a student to leave the building the day before, that student made threatening statements. But he thinks his response was wrong - he should have asked local police to be at the school for security after the incident. Now that he's said he'll leave at the end of the school year, he hopes his mistake leads to positive changes.

(D'Wayne Johnston, Tioga Superintendent) "Hopefully it will highlight school security needs."

And he says it's ironic that new security measures are in the process of being installed right now - from cameras in and out of the schools, to locked doors, to pass cards.

(D'Wayne Johnston, Tioga Superintendent) "These are some things the school board has been considering for a number of years and they're being installed as we speak."

Johnston says the safety of students and staff is the primary concern - a thought shared by the school board president, who was taking lots of time from his farming duties to handle questions about the incident.

(Mark Schmidt, Tioga School Board President) "D'Wayne is a standup guy. He told the truth throughout all of this. It was a poor decision on his part. But let's change the discussion and talk about why he felt he had the need to do this."

Schmidt says TIoga has formed a school safety committee with the goal of making sure all feel safe inside their school. And he says he supports a bill that was shot down in the legislature this year - a bill that would have allowed school boards to designate staff who could carry weapons.

(Mark Schmidt, Tioga School Board President) "If people know that it's not a gun-free zone, if people know there might be a gun there, that in itself is a huge deterrence to school violence."

Meanwhile, the outgoing superintendent says he stands ready to face whatever legal ramifications may come

(D'Wayne Johnston, Tioga Superintendent) "There is no excuse for my actions, there's no absolution. Justice will be served."

In Tioga, Jim Olson, KX News.

Superintendent Johnston says he hopes to continue to serve in education after his resignation in the spring - although he doubts it will be as a superintendent.

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