Palestine community talks about arming teachers - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Palestine community talks about arming teachers

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) -

Westwood ISD met Monday night to consider whether they should become the third East Texas school district to have armed staff members on campus.

The public meeting is over what district officials are calling "The Guardian Plan."

Westwood Superintendent Ed Lyman says the schools belong to the community and he wants to hear what they think about arming teachers on Westwood campuses. He said he does not expect there to be a lot of opposition to the idea but says parents will probably have some questions for him.

"There's quite a number of citizens who have already called in favor of the plan but they also want details and specifics on how it will be implemented," Lyman said.

Most of the parents at Monday night's meeting say they just want what's best for the children.

"I want my child to be protected so if it helps to protect my child then I'm for it," says Sherry Burk, a Westwood ISD parent.

"The biggest thing is safety concerns. You know just want to make sure kids don't have access to those weapons that the teachers may be carrying," says Denise Kennedy, another Westwood ISD parent. 

Superintendent Lyman says teachers should be the first line of defense in the event of an invasion by an armed individual.

He believes arming several teachers on each campus will protect students and deter armed people from trying to enter the schools.

"The Guardian Plan is actually our effort as educators to do our jobs to protect our kids and to make sure that gun-free zones don't become targets," he said.

According to Lyman, places that ban law abiding citizens from carrying firearms, such as schools and movie theaters, provide little or no protection from an outsider bringing a gun in.

"School invasions and school murders, these things have got to stop and the only way they can truly be stopped is by having trained law abiding citizens armed to protect our kids," he said. 

The Anderson County Sheriffs Office and the Palestine Police Department are working with the school district to make sure, if the policy is approved, teachers get the proper training they need to carry a weapon. They also want to make sure an emergency plan is in place. 

"With proper training and policies in place, law enforcement encourages more help because we are first responders, we aren't there," says Sheriff Greg Taylor of the Anderson County Sheriffs Office. 

Westwood Elementary School recently had an incident wherein a man involved in an assault nearby ran onto their campus. Lyman says on top of the policy to arm teachers, the district  plans to take other safety measures, such as improving our fencing and increasing our cameras and alarm systems.

Lyman says the armed teachers will be volunteers who have a current state license to carry a concealed handgun and are eligible to possess a firearm on school property. Those teachers will have to keep their weapon on them at all times.

THe Westwood ISD school board will re-visit the "Guardian Plan" at their next meeting on February 11. Officials will vote at that meeting on whether or not to add armed teachers to the district's schools. 

If the "Guardian Plan" is approved, Lyman says Westwood ISD schools could have armed teachers on their campuses by the end of February.

Van ISD and Union Grove ISD passed measures earlier this month to arm selected campus staff.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

 

  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Lufkin's Community Food Drive built on woman's legacy

    Lufkin's Community Food Drive built on woman's legacy

    Saturday, November 18 2017 9:28 PM EST2017-11-19 02:28:07 GMT
    Source: KTRE StaffSource: KTRE Staff
    The Community Food Drive in Lufkin is special to some because of the large amount of people it brings together from all walks of life.  "It's just like so many different people, very diverse," said volunteer, Priscilla Gonzalez. "It's just kind of cool to see all these people coming together to do one thing." For others, like Keith Kennedy, it's all about the service being provided to the greater community. "They're in miracle territory,...More >>
    The Community Food Drive in Lufkin is special to some because of the large amount of people it brings together from all walks of life.  "It's just like so many different people, very diverse," said volunteer, Priscilla Gonzalez. "It's just kind of cool to see all these people coming together to do one thing." For others, like Keith Kennedy, it's all about the service being provided to the greater community. "They're in miracle territory,...More >>
  • East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

    East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

    Friday, November 17 2017 7:26 PM EST2017-11-18 00:26:00 GMT

    According to the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment rate has fallen to a 3.9 percent since  In East Texas some holiday job openings have helped that percentage grow.  During March Target finished a 3.5 million dollar remodel that brought in new product lines. “We've actually added new positions and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then,” said store team leader, Kris Hoephner. This addition to the Ta...

    More >>

    According to the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment rate has fallen to a 3.9 percent since  In East Texas some holiday job openings have helped that percentage grow.  During March Target finished a 3.5 million dollar remodel that brought in new product lines. “We've actually added new positions and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then,” said store team leader, Kris Hoephner. This addition to the Ta...

    More >>
  • Lufkin STEM program plant trees at local schools

    Lufkin STEM program plant trees at local schools

    Friday, November 17 2017 7:25 PM EST2017-11-18 00:25:00 GMT
    Source: KTRESource: KTRE

    The 7th grade, STEM program from Lufkin joined up with some of the senior STEM students and spent their Friday, morning, planting trees at Burley Primary and Slack Elementary Schools. 

    More >>

    The 7th grade, STEM program from Lufkin joined up with some of the senior STEM students and spent their Friday, morning, planting trees at Burley Primary and Slack Elementary Schools. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly