Sign at Douglass ISD warns that staff members are armed, ready to protect students

The warning sign that concealed weapons are held by certified staff members is a decision of the district, not the state. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The warning sign that concealed weapons are held by certified staff members is a decision of the district, not the state. (Source: KTRE Staff)

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Texas school districts allowing designated employees to carry handguns for protection are receiving more inquiries from those schools that haven't adopted the so-called "Guardian Plan."

Douglass Independent School District in Nacogdoches County is one of those districts.

New attention is placed on a sign that's been visible for several years.

The "Keep out" sign posted in front of Douglass ISD provides protection from a construction zone. Close by is a sign alerting visitors that staff members are armed. That's protection from violence.

"The way society has evolved, I think everybody is looking for the best way to protect their students and staff, and all options are on the table at this point," said Dr. Walter Peddy, Douglass ISD's superintendent.

The warning has been there for four years. The recent Florida school shooting prompted reminders of it on social media. The sign itself is a deterrent.

"Absolutely. That's a measure that protects us from having to go to the next step," Peddy said.

It's often rural school districts that consider the guardian policy first. Douglass is 15 miles away from Nacogdoches, but there are Texas towns across the state that are much further from cities with quick law enforcement response.

"We're 15 minutes away from town and many of these incidences are over in two or three minutes," Peddy said.

At the First Baptist Church, a child advocate believes the warning is a sign of the times.

"I do believe that in this day and time we're going to have to do something different," said Angie Davis, a Douglass resident. "It's not like the old days. We have to protect our children in some way."

"Communities and school districts need to really evaluate their needs and security concerns," Peddy said. "There's no cookie-cutter approach to this. This is a challenge."

Douglass ISD has received inquiries from several school districts considering adopting similar security policies.

Posting a warning of selected armed staff members is a choice, not a requirement of school districts.

Huntington ISD Superintendent David Flowers told us today that he knows of districts that post bogus signs. He assures any visitor to his school district the concealed gun policy is for real.

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