Keller ISD Trustees Approve Policy to Arm School Staff
A survey sent out to the Keller ISD community shows an overwhelming majority do not support implementing the program.
KELLER, Texas — The Keller Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees approved a policy that would allow school staff to carry concealed firearms on campus.
The school board voted 4-3 Monday to implement the state’s “Guardian” program, which gives school districts the authority to arm certain employees, WFAA reports. Staff who opt into the program on a voluntary basis must complete firearm trainings and meet other requirements. District leaders also have the ability to remove an employee’s authorization to carry at any time.
According to an audit by the Texas School Safety Center, as of 2020, 280 out of 1,022 districts had opted into the program. Updated numbers will be available next year, said director Kathy Martinez-Prather.
Meanwhile, data collected by the Texas Association of School Boards found roughly 400 districts had a guardian policy in place as of July 2021, reports The Dallas Morning News. That number is now higher following this year’s Robb Elementary School shooting. Similarly, Martinez-Prather said Texas saw an uptick in the program’s use following the 2018 Sante Fe school shooting.
A survey sent to Keller ISD parents, teachers, and other community members found an overwhelming majority do not support implementing the program. Trustee Ruthie Keyes said 1,181 people responded to the survey, including 580 faculty members.
“When you have 848 [responses] who say no and 60 that say yes, I think that speaks loudly,” she continued.
Board President Dr. Charles Randklev said the responses received were insufficient and that the results were inconclusive.
“The guardian program is meant to help students and staff from an active shooter prior to law enforcement’s arrival,” he said.
During the public speaking portion of Monday’s meeting, opinions were also split. Parent Amber Fox said she fully supports the program.
“I would rather my kids’ teacher have a handgun than nothing,” she said. “The horror of Uvalde that kids were sitting in a classroom as a monster came in to shoot them.”
Student Santiago Salazar questioned, “What happens when one of these educators makes a mistake?” Parent Dixie Davis spoke out against the program as well.
“I do not want this program, period,” she said. “There is no way I would feel safe sending my kid to school knowing a teacher is packing, no matter how well-trained. Why haven’t we seen details about how this program works?”
Trustee Beverly Dixon agreed with Davis, saying she won’t approve a policy without more details.
“I want the specifications, and we don’t have that yet,” she said.
Superintendent Dr. Rick Westfall said a specific plan for the implementation of the program is not in place yet and the board likely won’t build the framework until January or February.
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