4210 Policy – Regulation of Dangerous Weapons on School Premises

Unless authorized by this policy, it is a violation of Bellingham Public Schools policy for any person to knowingly carry a firearm or dangerous weapon on school premises, school-provided transportation, areas of other facilities being used exclusively for school activities, or areas of facilities being used for official meetings of the school board. The term “school premises, includes property, or portions(s) of property, owned, rented or leased by the district when the property, or portions(s) of property, is being used exclusively for school district activities.

The superintendent is directed to see that all school facilities post “Gun-Free Zone” signs, and that all violations of this policy and RCW 9.41.280 are reported annually to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The superintendent will post signs providing notice of the restrictions on possessing dangerous weapons at each facility being used for official meetings of the board.


It is the policy of this district that the presence of firearms and other dangerous weapons in the workplace or educational environment is to be minimized as much as possible. As such, the following activities are prohibited by this policy regardless of whether such possession would violate state law, and regardless of whether the weapon is secured in a vehicle or possessed by a person with a concealed weapons permit:

  1. No district employee may bring any firearm or dangerous weapon onto any district property without prior authorization of the superintendent.
  2. No person or entity renting, leasing, or otherwise being granted the right to temporary use of district property may possess, or allow its guests to possess, firearms or dangerous weapons on district premises. This provision does not extend to a property rented or leased as a personal domicile


Dangerous Weapons

The term “dangerous weapons” under state law includes:

  • Any firearm;
  • Any device commonly known as “nun-chu-ka sticks,” consisting of two or more length of wood, metal, plastic, or similar substance connected with wire, rope, or other means;
  • Any device, commonly known as “throwing stars,” which are multi-pointed, metal objects designed to embed upon impact from any aspect;
  • Any air gun, including any air pistol or air rifle, designed to propel a BB, pellet, or other projectile by the discharge of compressed air, carbon dioxide, or other gas;
  • Any portable device manufactured to function as a weapon and which is commonly known as a stun gun, including a projectile stun gun which projects wired probes that are attached to the device that emit an electrical charge designed to administer to a person or an animal an electric shock, charge, or impulse;
  • Any device, object, or instrument which is used or intended to be used as a weapon with the intent to injure a person by an electric shock, charge, or impulse;
  • The following instruments:
    • Any dirk or dagger;
    • Any knife with a blade longer than three inches;
    • Any knife with a blade which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device;
    • Any knife having a blade which opens, or falls or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement; and
    • Any razor with an unguarded blade;
  • Any slung shot, sandbag, or sand club;
  • Metal knuckles;
  • A sling shot;
  • Any metal pipe or bar used or intended to be used as a club;
  • Any explosive;
  • Any weapon containing poisonous or injurious gas;
  • Any implement or instrument which has the capacity to inflict death and from the manner in which it is used, is likely to produce or may easily and readily produce death.


In addition, the district considers the following weapons in violation of this policy:

  • Any knife or razor not listed above, except for instruments authorized or provided for specific school activities;
  • Any object other than those listed above which is used in a manner to intimidate, threaten, or injure another person and is capable of easily and readily producing such injury.


Reporting Dangerous Weapons


If district staff believe that a student has violated this policy, an appropriate school authority will promptly notify the student’s parents or guardians and the appropriate law enforcement agency of known or suspected violations of this policy.


Students who have possessed a firearm on any school premises, school-provided transportation, school-sponsored activities at any facility or in areas of facilities while being used for official school board meetings shall be expelled for not less than one year pursuant to RCW 28A.600.420. The superintendent may modify the one-year expulsion for a firearm on a case-by-case basis.


Further, the district may also suspend or expel a student for up to one year if the student acts with malice (as defined under RCW 9A.04.110) and displays a device that appears to be a firearm.


All expulsion and/or suspension and all other discipline of students who violate this policy will be subject to Policy 3241 – Student Discipline.



If an employee believes that another district employee has violated this policy, the employee will report their concerns to an appropriate school or district authority for further inquiry.


The following persons may carry firearms into school buildings, as necessary, although students engaged in these activities are restricted to the possession of rifles on school premises:

  1. Persons engaged in military, law enforcement, or school district security activities;
  2. Persons involved in an authorized convention, showing, demonstration, lecture or firearm safety course authorized by the superintendent or designee;
  3. Persons competing in firearm or air gun competitions authorized by the superintendent or designee; and
  4. Any federal, state, or local law enforcement officer.


The following persons who are over eighteen years of age, not employed by the district, and not enrolled as students may have firearms in their possession on school property outside of school buildings only under the following limited circumstances:

  1. Persons with concealed weapons permits issued pursuant to RCW 9.41.070 who are picking up or dropping off students;
  2. Persons attending official meetings of the school board held off district-owned or leased property; and
  3. Persons conducting legitimate business at the school and in lawful possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon if the weapon is secured within an attended vehicle, is unloaded, and secured in a vehicle, or is concealed from view in a locked, unattended vehicle. Under RCW 9.41.050, no one may lawfully possess a loaded handgun in a vehicle unless the person has a valid concealed pistol permit.


Persons may bring dangerous weapons, other than firearms, onto school premises if the weapons are lawfully within the person’s possession and are to be used in a school-authorized activity or class such as a martial arts class.


Personal Protection Spray

Persons over eighteen years of age, and persons between 14 and 18 years of age with written parental or guardian permission, may possess personal protection spray devices on school property. No one under 18 years of age may deliver such devices. No one 18 years or older may deliver a spray device to anyone under 14, or to anyone between 14 and 18 who does not have parental permission.

Personal protection spray devices may not be used other than in self-defense as defined by state law. Possession, transmission or use of personal protection spray devices under any other circumstances is a violation of district policy.

Approved By: Greg Baker
Adopted/Previous Revisions: 11/06/12; 12/14/15
Adopted/Revised: 11/06/12; 03/15/13; 12/14/15; 09/12/16; 01/21/22;
Updated: 10/03/22
Superintendent or Board Approved: Superintendent Approved
Cross References: Content

3241 – Student Discipline

4260 – Use of School Facilities

6112 – Rental or Lease of District Real Property


Legal References: Content

RCW 9A.16.020 Use of force – when lawful
RCW 9.41.250 Dangerous weapons—Penalty
RCW 9.41.280 Dangerous weapons on facilities—Penalty — Exceptions
RCW 9.91.160 Personal protection spray devices
RCW 9.94A.825 Deadly weapon special verdict–definition
RCW 28A.600.420 Firearms on school premises, transportation, or facilities — Penalty — Exemptions

Management Resources: Content

2022 – June Issue

2019 – October Issue

2016 – July Issue

Policy News, August 2006 Weapons on School Premises

Policy News, August 1998 State Encourages Modification of Weapons Policy

Policy News, October 1997 Legislature also addresses “look-alike” firearms