A small Texas school district will be the first in the nation to pass a law specifically allowing teachers and staff to pack heat when classes begin later this month. Those teachers will be allowed to carry a concealed firearm during classroom hours.
Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements. School administration have said the policy was initiated because of safety concerns.
“We have had employees assaulted before by people in the last several years,” Thweatt said. “I think that safety is big concern. We are seeing a lot of anger in society.”
He wouldn’t comment further on the nature of the assaults.
The Texas superintendent linked gun-free zones with the uprising of school shootings in recent years.
“When you make schools gun-free zones, it’s like inviting people to come in and take advantage,”
In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and must use frangible ammunition.
Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.
The kindergarten through 12th grade school district is home to 110 students.
Thweatt said officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change. He said the district also has various other security measures in place to prevent a school shooting.
“The naysayers think [a shooting] won’t happen here,” Thweatt said. “If something were to happen here, I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them.”
This is not exactly new- In Utah, the law allows anyone with a permit to carry a gun in public schools and state institutions of higher education.