Tx school district lets teachers, staff pack pistols


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jbartlett61
August 15, 2008, 07:28 AM
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/834022.html

When classes start Aug. 25 in the tiny Harrold school district, there will be one distinct difference from years prior: Some of the teachers may have guns.

To deter and protect against school shootings, trustees have altered district policy to allow employees to carry concealed weapons if they have a state permit and permission from the administration. The 110-student district lies 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth on the eastern end of Wilbarger County, near the Oklahoma border.

More than a dozen state legislatures have considered making it legal to carry guns on college campuses, but experts and officials contacted by the Star-Telegram say the move is unheard of in elementary or secondary schools.

Superintendent David Thweatt said a main concern was that the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection.

'To be prepared’

The district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target, Thweatt said.

Other security measures are in place, including one-way access to enter the school, state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and electric locks on doors. But after the Virginia Tech massacre and the Amish school shooting in Pennsylvania, Thweatt felt he had to take further action, he said.

"When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started," Thweatt said. "Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying 'sic ’em’ to a dog."

Texas law outlaws firearms on school campuses "unless pursuant to the written regulations or written authorization of the institution."

Thweatt did not say how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall because he doesn’t want students or potential attackers to know. Wilbarger County Sheriff Larry Lee was out of the office Thursday and did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization is not aware of another district doing something similar. Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, including in Texas, said Harrold is the first district he knows of to take such a step.

Trump said he would have advised against allowing teachers to arm themselves, if only because of liability concerns. In the long run, it could have been cheaper and safer to hire security or off-duty police, he said. Texas school districts also have the option of forming their own police force, he noted.

"What are the rules for use of force?" Trump said. "Or how about weapons-retention training? Because they could go in to break up a fight in the cafeteria and lose their gun."

Thweatt said the district did not rush into the decision. Officials researched the policy and weighed other options for about a year before trustees voted on the policy in October.

"The naysayers think [a shooting] won’t happen here," he 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."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The gun policy Teachers and staffers in the Harrold school district can carry firearms beginning this fall if they:

Have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun.

Are authorized to carry by the district.

Receive training in crisis management and hostile situations.

Use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls.

Source: Harrold school district



MARK AGEE, 817-685-3813

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papajohn
August 15, 2008, 07:52 AM
Hallelujah! Common sense comes to the hallowed halls! Now if we could just get that passed everywhere else................

PJ

db_tanker
August 15, 2008, 08:01 AM
and here I was thinking the laws would start being passed in Utah or Arizona...not my own beloved Texas.

I can still be proud of Texas from time to time. :)


D

onebigelf
August 15, 2008, 08:16 AM
http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm96/onebigelf/Smart.jpg

John

Double Naught Spy
August 15, 2008, 08:25 AM
Cool, and 46:03(1) says the schools have the power to grant this. The law has been there for a while now. Nobody wanted to act on it.

bdickens
August 15, 2008, 08:34 AM
God bless Texas!

Telumehtar
August 15, 2008, 11:42 AM
God Bless my state!

The Houston Chronicle also had an article on it. Very similar the above, but for anyone curious.

North Texas school district will let teachers carry guns (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5945430.html)

NG VI
August 15, 2008, 11:53 AM
Awesome, good thing at least some people are still thinking with their noggins.

jrfoxx
August 15, 2008, 03:15 PM
Good for Texas. Hopefully this will serve as a model/example that proves allowing licensed CCW'ers to carry in schools does NOT cause "blood in the streets".

OR is close, it is legal for ANYONE with a permit to carry in/on ANY school/college/university property, which is good also, but if you are a sutedent or employee, you can (and I'll bet will) be expelled/fired. So while LEGAL here, it's still lacking a bit for those that attend or work for these places.

But, given the choice between dead, or alive but expelled/fired, I'll take the latter, personally. We just need to combine the two things, so it's not only legal for ALL ccw license holders to carry, but also that students and employees are protected from expulsion/firing.

The good news is that between OR, Utah (and any of the other couple states I may be forgetting that make it LEGAL to carry in schools), and now this Texas district allowing employees to carry without any risk of firing, we have multiple examples that prove allowing staff, students, parents, and visitors to carry legally, AND now, without risk of losing your job, we can eventually use the lack of incidents/problems to push for combing them them so its legal for all, AND people dont have to choose betwen the risk of not carrying, and the risk of losing your job if discovered.

Steve H
August 15, 2008, 03:17 PM
and here I was thinking the laws would start being passed in Utah or Arizona...not my own beloved Texas.



I would also think Utah also, but if I remember right a few years back the University of Utah was trying to ban guns on campus.

Girodin
August 15, 2008, 03:28 PM
In Utah teachers/staff can carry. The University of Utah tried its best to thumb its nose at state law. The state law grants the power to regulate guns to the state legislature alone. That means the U of U being a state institution can not make its own ban. There was a lawsuit and the U of U lost.

Utah has real good gun/self defense laws for the most part. There are numerous state legislators who carry while on capital hill. A particular political party holds super majorities in both houses and thus gun rights are failry safe from the desires of the other major party.

nplant
August 15, 2008, 03:43 PM
Don't think that the teachers have any special legal permissions, guys and gals. Here's the linchpin to the whole thing:
To deter and protect against school shootings, trustees have altered district policy to allow employees to carry concealed weapons if they have a state permit and permission from the administration.
That oughtta be enough to keep teachers from packin' heat.

jahwarrior
August 15, 2008, 04:00 PM
this is one of the hotly debate topics in my home. i firmly believe that schools are primary targets for [sickos], and as such, should have armed security, at all times. my g/f quite strongly disagrees. i for one applaud mr. thweatt's decision. it's common knowledge that people who obtain a license or permit to legally carry a gun are way less likely to commit a crime with that gun. the fact that the people who would be armed are mostly teachers and school staff makes the situation even safer, in my opinion.

my parents are retired teachers. they worked in NYC their entire careers, in the Bronx, specifically. both of them told me horror stories of students, or trespassers, committing violent crimes within the walls of their schools. my father personally had to confront and disarm a guy with a knife, who was looking for his ex wife, a colleague of my father's. fter that, neither one went to work unarmed. yeah, they were breaking the law. if they were caught, they would have lost their jobs, and probably would have been arrested. but, they felt, it was better than the alternative. more specifically, my dad said once, "the parents of these kids trust me to keep these kids safe for them. if some summanumbitch did something to them during my watch, i could never live with that."

those parents trusted the lives of their kids with my parents. i trust the lives of my kids to their teachers. it's the right thing to do.

lookn4varmints
August 15, 2008, 04:53 PM
I think we should ALL send HUGE KUDOS to Harrold Independent School District Superintendent David Thweatt. You can bet your life the gun-grabbers are hammering him by email and by phone. We need to counter the grabbers lest Sup. Thweatt be discouraged.

His email: david.thweatt@harroldisd.net

Thweatt has guts, and as the Gunny said, “….guts is enough.”

Prince Yamato
August 15, 2008, 06:09 PM
Thank you God! This will hopefully get the ball rolling in my state.

SCKimberFan
August 15, 2008, 06:55 PM
It seems as though every one of the first 20 or so who commented on this have forgotten all about Colombine.

I think this is a good idea and would like to see it happen more places.

neviander
August 15, 2008, 07:10 PM
'bout time Texas did something.....Texas like :D

FCFC
August 15, 2008, 07:16 PM
Seems to me that the school has special circumstances--very small, distant from emergency police response, gun-favorable state, non-teen students, etc. that make it a good experiment for a few armed faculty or staff.

Especially with the required "crisis training," it ought to be work out just fine.

However, the Harrold school's new situation is hardly generalizable to the vast majority of other schools in the U.S.

Heaven help Harrold if they have an accidental discharge or some other negative outcome.

Harrold's pretty much a no win situation for those that want guns in schools. Unless, of course, some armed loon attacks the school and is shot down by a teacher or staff.

Hmm, I wonder what Harrold's legal liability costs are effective August 25?

Prince Yamato
August 15, 2008, 08:41 PM
Harrold's pretty much a no win situation for those that want guns in schools. Unless, of course, some armed loon attacks the school and is shot down by a teacher or staff.

No, it's a win for Texas. If one small Texas town does this, so will other small Texas towns. Eventually bigger Texas towns will do it, then cities, etc. Once it catches on in Texas, it's sure to catch on in the rest of the South.

bcp
August 15, 2008, 08:43 PM
From:
http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel200409022215.asp


"Decades ago, Israel adopted a policy that swiftly ended terrorist attacks against schools. Earlier this year, Thailand adopted a similar approach. It is politically incorrect, but it does have the advantage of saving the lives of children and teachers. The policy? Encourage teachers to carry firearms.
...
...If we are really serious about gun laws that protect “the children,” then it seems clear that — whatever other gun laws a society adopts — every civilized nation at risk of terrorist attack ought to ensure that armed teachers can protect innocent children."

Double Naught Spy
August 15, 2008, 08:52 PM
Seems to me that the school has special circumstances--very small, distant from emergency police response,...

When it comes to active shooter situations, emergency police response is almost never close enough, not in well populated cities like Littleton, CO, and not on school campuses that have their own police departments and who are not more than a half mile distant like Virginia Tech.

Superpsy
August 15, 2008, 09:21 PM
Msnbc article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26225072/

Texas school district to let teachers carry guns
In what appears to be U.S. first, board cites remote location



HOUSTON - A Texas school district will let teachers bring guns to class this fall, the district's superintendent said on Friday, in what experts said appeared to be a first in the United States.

The board of the small rural Harrold Independent School District unanimously approved the plan and parents have not objected, said the district's superintendent, David Thweatt.

School experts backed Thweatt's claim that Harrold, a system of about 110 students 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth, may be the first to let teachers bring guns to the classroom.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

Thweatt said it is a matter of safety.

"We have a lock-down situation, we have cameras, but the question we had to answer is, 'What if somebody gets in? What are we going to do?" he said. "It's just common sense."

Board members estimate it would take first responders nearly 30 minutes to get to the rural school in an emergency.

Teachers who wish to bring guns will have to be certified to carry a concealed handgun in Texas and get crisis training and permission from school officials, he said.

Recent school shootings in the United States have prompted some calls for school officials to allow students and teachers to carry legally concealed weapons into classrooms.

The U.S. Congress once barred guns at schools nationwide, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck the law down, although state and local communities could adopt their own laws. Texas bars guns at schools without the school's permission.

Bold emphasis is my own. This is the first I've heard of this...(law being struck down). Can anyone find this reference?

SSN Vet
August 15, 2008, 09:32 PM
God bless Texas!

+1 .....

My pastor, an avid hunter who was raised in Flint, MI fondly recalls how he would walk to school during pheasant season with his shot gun, and keep it in his locker, so he could go straight to the fields after school and maximize his hunting time. The principle would greet him in the halls and inquire if he'd had any luck the previous day.

strangely enough, there were never any school shootings in his day.

since then America (at least the SCOTUS) decided they wanted an amoral public school system, and that's exactly what we have today.

misANTHrope
August 15, 2008, 09:39 PM
Don't think that the teachers have any special legal permissions, guys and gals. Here's the linchpin to the whole thing:

To deter and protect against school shootings, trustees have altered district policy to allow employees to carry concealed weapons if they have a state permit and permission from the administration.
That oughtta be enough to keep teachers from packin' heat.

I presume that the administration that will be granting permission to the teachers is the same administration that made this policy change in the first place, so I don't think there's any real issue here.

Eric F
August 16, 2008, 09:40 AM
I have many conflicting thoughts on this. Where as I like the idea of 2a and self defence, I think its a sad state when schools are/have been targeted for violence. I would not mind my child going to a teacher armed school but before doing so I would have to have a good working relationship with the teacher/teachers. I do not mind my child being around guns and such I would just like to know that the people with guns in charge of her care at school are not a dunce with a weapon. My wife was a teacher and teachers are like everyone else. There are the some that worked with her that would love the chance to play super cop with a gun in school and some that just have that dark cloud over them all the time, you know always fumbling things knocking stuff over constant run of bad luck. With a person like that an ad is just waiting to happen. On the other side there are a bunch that are more than capable of conducting themselves.

TexasRifleman
August 16, 2008, 09:58 AM
Bold emphasis is my own. This is the first I've heard of this...(law being struck down). Can anyone find this reference?

Google the "Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990". It was struck down pretty quickly.

Surprisingly it was the first time in like 100 years or so that the courts actually ruled against the Fed when they tried to do something under the "commerce clause".

Our friends Specter, Simon, Feinstein, Bradley, and Lautenberg tried again in 1995 with the same thing, renaming it by just changing the year to 1995. This one specifically said that a prosecutor had to prove that a gun used inside the 1000 foot zone effects interstate commerce.

Those morons never give up.

The new one has the bizarre disclaimer regarding commerce. I'm not even sure what the hell that means......

(A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects
interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school
zone.
(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—
(i) on private property not part of school grounds;
(ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a
political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an
individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify
that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;
(iii) that is—
(I) not loaded; and
(II) in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle;
(iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
(v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the
individual or an employer of the individual;
(vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or
(vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining
access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school
authorities.

Intune
August 16, 2008, 11:03 AM
Thanks for the positive news and welcome to The High Road jbartlett61!

Kudos to the Harrold school district for using common sense and actually doing something "for the children" that is not pc.

I understand that this policy may heighten the concern level in some parents but leaving children defenseless in the face of a school shooting is totally unacceptable.

My daughter drives her car to & from school. Potentially dangerous.
My son rides a bus twice daily for school. Potentially dangerous.
Daughter plays varsity soccer. Potentially injurious.
Son plays football. Potentially injurious
Daughter went on a school trip to D.C. INSANE!
:neener: Ten years in Alexandria taught me that!

Life involves risks. Sensible gun-handling alleviates more risk than it incites.

I would only have two rules for the Harrold SD teachers.
1. Firearm under physical control at all times. Not in desk drawer or purse.
2. Do not touch except in emergency.
That's it.

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