CUSHING, Texas (KTRE) - The Texas senate has passed a bill to increase the number of armed faculty in schools. Before, only a certain amount of school marshals with concealed firearms were allowed on campuses. A house bill recently filed by state representative Cole Hefner will remove that limit.
When Cushing ISD first implemented a school marshal program, they were permitted to have one armed faculty member for every 200 students. These marshals are school employees that go through extensive training to carry concealed weapons to protect students.
“Our candidates at the time who are currently marshals now all went to the training," said Cushing ISD police chief Shane Johnson. “The training is 80 hours of classroom instruction and firearms training.”
”They have to go through mental health training, which is not required by the state, but our school board required it," said Superintendent Michael Davis.
However, House Bill 1387 will remove that limit. Davis said even with fewer restrictions, it’s unlikely applicants will line up at the door.
“Frankly, a lot of people don’t want to carry," Davis said. "When we first sit down to make our list, we talk to the school, and we talk to the teachers, and a lot of them say off the bat they didn’t want to carry because they didn’t feel comfortable carrying.”
Johnson agreed and said this training isn’t for everyone.
“I believe for them to carry a firearm on a daily basis is something that it’s hard to become second nature, but it needs to be,” Johnson said.
Davis said he believes some limits still need to be in place. He said that even if the limit is likely to be removed, Texas schools will likely create their own rules about how many marshals can serve.
“I think there’s gonna be caps on it regardless what the legislation says," Davis said. "They [marshals] understand that it’s a very big responsibility on their shoulders.”
The bill does not require Texas schools to participate in the school marshal program and only applies to campuses that have school marshals. House Bill 1387 still requires signatures from the Texas Senate and House before going to Governor Greg Abbott.