This Does Not Reassure Me – “Texas School District Will Let Teachers Carry Guns”

Wayne sent me this news story as an aside, and I have to admit that after reading it my first thought was how glad I was that I didn’t have any kids in Texas’ Harrold Independent School District. This isn’t exactly gadget news, and I’m not sure why it hit today as this policy change approval actually took place last October, but needless to say…I am flabbergasted and felt the need to share. Indulge me, please.

Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements

This Does Not Reassure Me - "Texas School District Will Let Teachers Carry Guns"
cartoon credit

Don’t get me wrong; I completely believe in and support the right to bear arms as provided for in the Second Amendment, I am a gun owner myself, and I enjoy shooting clay birds. But let me say in no uncertain terms that I am totally uncomfortable with this idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy who came up with this brain fart became the next Darwin Award winner.

I’m a reasonable person, though, so I was willing to hear the thought process that went into making the decision…

Superintendent David Thweatt told the policy was initiated because of safety concerns.

“We have had employees assaulted before by people in the last several years,” Thweatt said. “I think that safety is big concern. We are seeing a lot of anger in society.”

He wouldn’t comment further on the nature of the assaults.

Well hold up! He says assaulted by “people”, but not what type of assaults, and “people” sounds awfully generic. Do you mean students? Other teachers? Ruffians off the street? I need specifics in order to be sold on this idea. Nowhere does it mention that anyone was killed (or anything even close), so why the need for a potentially lethal solution? And “seeing a lot of anger in society”? Isn’t that a good enough reason not to send a possibly harried and underpaid adult into a roomful of mouthy high school students?

So why can’t they just call the sheriff, if and when there is trouble at the school?

Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.

“Could make it a target.” By that reasoning, any populated business or campus sitting off a busy highway could be considered a target. Where do we draw the line? Is it really necessary to use guns when another, less lethal solution might suffice? Give the teachers tasers, and teach them the proper circumstances on when and how to use them; I would be much less shocked by that option.

Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization did not know of another district with such a policy. Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, including in Texas, said Harrold is the first district with such a policy.

I have to say that I hope it is the last; this is just nuts. :-/

Link: Texas School District Will Let Teachers Carry Guns

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

14 Comments on "This Does Not Reassure Me – “Texas School District Will Let Teachers Carry Guns”"

  1. Brings a whole new meaning to “shooting for an A”.

  2. Hm, that bears an uncanny resemblance to my wife, except she wears contacts and only owns one revolver. And has better fashion sense. 😉

  3. @brely – it was the best picture I could find at the time! 😆

    @reidme – Yeah! 😉

  4. I live in the Denver area… this is still a touchy subject out here, even years after Columbine. I’m really torn on the subject. While I’d rather see the school district and local sheriff work together to have a deputy assigned to each school, I know that may not be possible. So what’s the next-best option? Violent acts in schools seem to be slowly but steadily rising, so increasing security obviously needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, cost determines what can be done. The school officials are right to try to explore security alternatives, but I would hope they exhaust all of them before arming the teachers. This may be the best they can afford.
    It’s a shame that it’s come to this….

  5. @n0doz – I can completely see where you are coming from on this, and if the Harrold ISD had given a compelling reason (such as a concrete past incident like Columbine, or a current and ongoing threat), then I would have thought that they might have a point. This just seems like an extreme solution that either hasn’t been well thought out or will cause problems in the long run. :-/

  6. Please don’t attack me, but I see the point from a different angle. I think the “gun free zones” have helped these people who are doing the shootings at schools. If one college professor had a gun when that guy in Virginia starting shooting that day, he may not have been deterred, but he may not have killed as many people as he did. Kids in high school may be deterred if they think MAYBE a teacher has a gun too … not all teachers are going to carry, but right now they can’t. Puts the odds in the gunman’s favor.

    PS — I don’t carry a gun. Probably shoot myself in the butt somehow. 🙂

  7. @meatgel – there will be no attacking! 😉

    I am sitting at a table having a discussion about this very subject as I type and just got a different perspective from my friend Grabb, a sheriff’s deputy. He is telling me about the gang problem from larger cities radiating into the smaller ones, and how some of the gang initiations would involve a particular type of assault against a female teacher. He thinks that might be the unstated issue here, and if so…I guess my eyes have been opened. I can see where the threat of teachers packing heat might help in this case, although it still worries (and saddens) me. :-/

  8. Not to go too conservative here, but I don’t think the problem is the presence of guns, it’s the absence of consequences. Our society has become increasingly blame-free and shame-free in the last few decades.

  9. @reidme – I totally agree with you on that account.

  10. I think its a great idea. Most of the well publicized school shootings where dozens have died, got so bad because the shooter could just walk from room to room shooting people at random. It takes police 5 to 15 minutes to show up and takes about 3 to 5 minutes to kill 30 people with enough guns. strapped on a belt.

    If a teacher wanted to come to school and shoot innocent people, I somehow think a rule against carrying guns wouldn’t stop them.

    Yet a haywire student or stranger on campus, a teacher properly trained to use and licensed to carry a handgun could take him/her down and ensure as few casualties as possible.

    Not only that, but the knowledge that any teacher could be packing would definitely make a shooter think twice before considering doing one of these sprees. Ever noticed they don’t do a terminator and walk into a police station and start shooting?? Why, because they know there are far fewer consequences or they can kill alot more people to make the news since these are often glorified suicides.

    If you want to blame anybody for these shootings, besides the shooter and his/her parents, the main culprit is the liberal media who loves to publisize these things 24×7 to make the shooter famous and then keep igniting the argument as to why gun laws aren’t tough enough (yet in almost every case, the shooter didn’t get the gun legally anyway).

    I don’t own a gun, nor do I want one, but yet the only people our gun laws prevent from getting a gun are people who obey the law. Thus if you want to break the law and rob a bank or kill someone, I don’t think you care to much about the law in acquiring a gun illegally…

  11. “but yet the only people our gun laws prevent from getting a gun are people who obey the law. Thus if you want to break the law and rob a bank or kill someone, I don’t think you care to much about the law in acquiring a gun illegally…”

    mchinsky, I’ve been arguing this one for years. I am also in a position to know this on a deeper level than most.

    It’s interesting how many different complicities there can be in this seemingly simple issue, as well as the deep-rooted passions the subject can stir. I really appreciate that everyone on here is keeping everything so beautifully civil. <3

  12. kevinnugent | August 16, 2008 at 6:52 pm |

    I love Americans, but really, I shake my head when I read these things. My wife is from Houston and doesn’t understand the concern. Sigh….

    Another one for the “only in America” file.

  13. Many of the responders to this post appear to be hopelessly ill-informed. One great thing about the web is that you can actually find valuable evidence to confirm or deny whether decisions make sense.

    Let me suggest the following Bureau of Justice Statistics website:

    There you will learn many interesting facts, including that the use of firearms in crimes has plummeted in the past decade. You will also find a study that showed that thirty percent of guns used in committing crimes were obtained illegally. Seventy percent were obtained legally.

    A small percentage of law enforcement officers specialize in trying to understand how statistics like these relate to policy. My hope is that they, rather than people who are (thankfully) exposed to only a few violent incidents in their lifetimes, are consulted in formulating public policy on this issue.

    My guess is that Texas has decided to dump the responsibility for violent acts and their prevention onto individuals who are hopelessly ill-equipped to return fire against a miscreant, no matter how heavily they are armed. Even seasoned law enforcement officers typically land less than half their shots on target in actual gunfights. Interviews show that they evolve strategies to succeed despite knowing that this is the case. Teachers don’t have the time nor the infrastructure to do so. Teaching is already a pretty substantial challenge.

  14. Hmmm…
    I’ve been in law enforcement for over 30 years. Stats and the like are fine for some things, but you cannot rely on them for the most important factors in this story: giving these people a sense of safety, security, and giving them control of their own fate. Having firearms in the possession of responsible individuals in a school building may not be a perfect solution, but then, what would be?
    As I posted earlier, I’m torn on the subject, but the ultimate decision to carry or not carry a weapon is rightly given, at least in this case, to the people who are “on the scene” in Texas. If it makes them feel safer, then, mission accomplished.

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