On Monday, a school district in Northern Texas approved a safety measure that actually will provide safety for students in their district by including a concealed carry program for its staff.
The Weatherford Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the measure on June 11, 2018 in addition to other safety measures.
According to the Weatherford ISD website, the concealed carry program will include the following specifics:
- Staff participation in this program is voluntary
- Individuals will undergo a thorough screening process including a psychological review, fingerprinting, background check, and administrative approval
- There is an extensive training component and annual training requirement
- Individuals selected will remain anonymous
- The Defender Program does not allow any citizen with a License to Carry the right to carry a concealed weapon on Weatherford ISD property
- In addition to the concealed carry feature of the Defender Program, this adoption also provides:
- Classroom safes that will contain a safety vest, pepper spray, and a trauma kit.
- Trauma and intruder training for all staff.
- One Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, two Intervention Counselors, and an Intervention Teacher to support students’ social and emotional needs as a preventive measure.
- A School Safety Coordinator who will be specifically focused on safety plans and processes for the District.
- Training for students including safety drills and a “See Something; Say Something” training on situational awareness.
- The implementation of a district-wide character education program.
Details of the program will not be disclosed to “ensure the confidentiality” of the safety measure. Good thinking! However, the school district will create a timeline for when they expect to implement the measure.
I’m sure Colorado congressional candidate Levi Tillemann will be happy to know that the schools will have pepper spray in their classroom safes.
In late February, Superintendent Jeffrey Hanks responded to tragic high school shootings in Italy, Texas, and Parkland, Florida, in a “safety and security” message. He explained to families that the school district was contemplating folding this Defender Program into their existing campus security protocols.
School board President Jeffrey Geyer fleshed out some of the safety procedures the district already put into place through a 2015 bond. In a press release, he cited secured campus entrances, surveillance cameras, perimeter keyless entries, classroom intruder function door hardware, and extra parking lot lighting. Geyer also noted the district had four full-time dedicated School Resource Officer (SROs), local police assigned to a particular campus beat.
In March, Weatherford ISD held two town hall meetings with families. A video presentation said the Defender Program was used by Anna ISD, located on the northern rim of Collin County. They enroll more than 3,400 students.
Breitbart Texas has reported that schools also permit trained and approved personnel to carry a concealed firearm through other similar programs. “Guardians” were first introduced in 2007 at Harrold ISD. They appeal to small, rural schools that do not always have access to local law enforcement or first responders in an emergency. Larger districts often have SRO’s, police departments, surveillance, and state-of-the-art security systems, yet some of these schools incorporate a program that allows one armed “marshal” per 400 students.
Frankly, this is far better and less costly than Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ridiculous mental health proposals while continuing to infringe on the rights of the teachers and staff across his state to keep and bear arms.
I would far more see a complete elimination of restrictions on Texas citizens to simply keep and bear arms, something that is supposed to be protected by the Texas and US Constitution but is continually regulated and restricted. However, maybe this is a stepping stone going in that direction. We’ll see.
In my opinion, as many teachers and staff as possible should train and carry their weapons while at school and anywhere else they go.
I’d almost be willing to bet real money that once this goes into effect and it becomes known that these schools are no longer gun free zones and the teachers and staff are armed, the children at these schools will be fearful of a mass shooter coming to their school.
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