New law requires 1 armed employee at Texas schools
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - It’s been over a year since a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and killed 19 children and two teachers. Since the tragedy, laws have been put in place to increase the safety of students in Texas, laws such as House Bill 3.
Central Heights ISD Superintendent David Russell tells us how they’re adding protection on their campuses.
“We voted last school year to implement a school police force. We did not have one, and to have a force you have to start with one, so in the spring we hired a new chief of police,” said Russell.
Central Heights ISD plans to add two more officers by the end of next year, that still leaves two of their three campuses without an armed officer.
House Bill 3 grants an alternative option to districts that may not have the personnel to meet the requirement.
“Our school board voted during the august board meeting to allow school guardians to stand in place this particular school year until we can get all our campuses covered,” said Russell.
Guardians are people employed by the school, who’ve completed school safety training provided by a qualified handgun instructor to be armed on campus.
Hudson ISD Superintendent Donny Webb says they also use guardians on their campuses.
“Hudson ISD has been blessed for several years to have a district police department, where one officer is assigned at each of our campuses. Since our officers also work traffic at the very beginning and end of the day, there are some small periods of time that an officer might not be on campus.”
Hudson ISD board of trustees has already approved a plan allowing for the guardian program to serve where applicable,” said Webb.
The state will provide a $15,000 grant per campus to meet the requirements, but Russell says it’s not enough.
“No way will it ever cover all the expenses that you’re going to incur with equipment, a place to house them and those things aren’t cheap, but you can’t put a price on the safety of our children,” said Russell.
With House Bill 3 in place, the Texas Education Agency and Texas School Safety Center will work together to assess the security of school campuses at least once every four years and set facility standards for districts at least once every five years.
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