Harrold, Texas – As the nation considers gun control laws, Texas already arms its teachers with concealed carry permits for guns as a solution to preventing school shootings like in Newtown, Connecticut. The small Texas district of Harrold is the first district with such an “arm the teachers” policy in the nation. The surprising part is not that an American school is arming its teachers…the surprising part is that they already have been doing so for five years!
Back in 2008, David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District, explained to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram why school officials approved this “arm the teachers” policy after researching and considering other options for about a year:
“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. 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. The naysayers think (a shooting) won’t happen here. 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 rules that the school board voted unanimously on are also very strict. For teachers 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 only carry ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricocheting bullets, which is what air marshals do on airplanes.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the idea to arm the teachers is not a new one to Israel, either. After a school massacre in the 1970s Israel decided to implement a a program of armed citizen guards in their schools. This program is known to work, since Israel has not suffered from a successful school shooting in decades since the program began. In fact, arming the schools has proven to prevent attacks when actual potential killers have been shot dead before they could bring any harm to the children.
Fast forward to 2012 and Harrold district is still arming its teachers with no recorded safety issues for the children…and no school shootings. Thweatt told local news station KENS5 and the Associated Press that he believes this is due to the extra training the teachers undergo:
“Their accuracy is probably going to be 100 percent. The only people who have more shooting training in the State of Texas than my teachers are Highway Patrol. … We don’t have money for a security guard, but this is a better solution. A shooter could take out a guard or officer with a visible, holstered weapon, but our teachers have master’s degrees, are older and have had extensive training. And their guns are hidden. We can protect our children.”
Thweatt said other school districts now want to follow Harrold’s lead:
“I’m getting calls from school leaders all over the country — especially all over the state [of Texas].”
In the awful aftermath of last week’s Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, lawmakers in a growing number of states — including Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Oregon — have said they will consider laws allowing teachers and school administrators to carry firearms at school. Even Texas governor Rick Perry recently gave approval to the idea.
Arming teachers with guns is a deterrent never deployed in a large United States district, and Thweatt hopes it never gets tested in his small town:
“I could imagine those horrible events. I hoped they didn’t happen. I planned for them happening. I want to know at the end of the day I did everything possible — legally and otherwise — to stop kids from being killed in cold blood, and I think we have. Nothing is 100 percent at all. … But hope makes for a terrible plan, hoping that (a tragedy) won’t happen. My question is: What have you done about it? How have you planned?”
A new White House petition is saying that the entire United States should arm the teachers as a solution to school shootings. As of this writing there are 9,320 signers of the petition. Do you think the rest of the nation should plan ahead like Texas by arming school teachers?