Christoval ISD Students are Protected by Armed Teachers and Staff
CHRISTOVAL, TX -- In April of 2014, then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declared that staff and administrators at small rural schools would be allowed to carry firearms and that to do so did not violate state laws banning concealed firearms at sporting events or during school board meetings.
Employees are required to get a concealed handgun permit and it’s left to each school district to decide if this is the option for them.
To participate in the program, teachers and staff members are required to undergo mental health evaluations and 80 hours of training by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
The Guardian Plan was created in 2007 for schools in the wake of the shooting at Virginia Tech that left more than 30 people dead and nearly two dozen injured.
Officials with the Texas Association of School Boards said that they were aware of at least 172 school districts that let staff members carry firearms.
Under the Guardian Plan, the safety measure provides armed protection for smaller, rural school districts that cannot afford to create a police force, hire resource officers or contract with local police departments.
David Walker, Superintendent of the Christoval Independent School District talked about considerations that went into the decision to allow armed staff.
“The first is as a deterrent-bad people and bullies avoid hard targets. They mainly prey on the weak.”
“An active shooter event can last as little as two to three minutes.”
“When one looks at Sandy Hook, it was about 9 and a half minutes or more before the first officer entered the building. This was in an urban/suburban area, and the time of entry was unacceptable when one considers how much destruction can be inflicted in a short time.”
“Response time in a rural area could take longer. Any response time that isn’t instantaneous is too long. Look at Florida. There were armed police officers that hesitated and did not enter the building.”
“Our broken school finance system for public schools in Texas doesn’t allow Christoval ISD the funds needed to properly fund school safety.”
“However, our budget does allow the Guardian Plan as a way to add another layer of protection. In an emergency, regardless if it is weather related or human related, our job is to limit casualties and try to keep our children as safe as possible.”
Just to clarify any misunderstanding regarding what having an armed staff is about, Walker said, “We are not arming every teacher. Only personnel that have volunteered to do this, have met all of the training requirements and have been authorized by the school board are Guardians.”
Also, “Only other Guardians, School Board and Law Enforcement know who the Guardians are.”
“No one knows how many or where they are located. This strengthens and reinforces the deterrence factor.”
“We recognize that this isn’t for everyone, but we feel having armed personnel does harden us as a target and will act as a deterrent to anyone wishing to inflict harm.”
“Having teachers and staff act as unarmed shields is an unrealistic approach. Teachers act In loco parentis (in place of the parent) while students are at school or under our supervision at school events. Just as a parent would defend their own child, we will defend our students from any ill intended person.”