U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-— On Monday, December 12, 2022, the Keller School District board voted to implement the School Guardian program for the District. The Keller Independent School District (ISD), with over 35,000 students, is one of the largest in the state. From The epochtimes.com :
A large North Texas school district is moving forward with its plan to allow armed staff members to protect students in the event of an active shooter situation.
On Monday night, the board of trustees for the Keller Independent School District (KISD) approved the decision in a 4–3 vote. The district, which serves more than 35,000 students, is set to become the largest in North Texas to implement a guardian program.
The new policy would be on a volunteer basis with a high degree of oversight. The program would require a rigorous selection process. Participants would undergo a law enforcement psychological exam, a physical, and firearm testing with requalification twice a year.
In September 2013, Texas passed legislation that authorized School Districts to participate in programs designed to aid in the protection of schools. One was the school Marshal program, which required intense training and limited School Marshals to one per 200 students; the other was the school Guardian plan which allowed much more flexibility and required 15 to 20 hours of training per school guardian.
It appears relatively few school districts have participated in the School Marshal program. Ballotpedia lists 1022 school districts in Texas. Four hundred forty-five school districts are participating in the School Guardian program, as of October of 2022, according to the article in the Epoch Times. The vote for the program was 4 to 3. Keller ISD Board President Charles Randklev explained his decision to vote for the program. From communityimpact.com:
For Board President Charles Randklev, it came down to timing.
“The average time it takes for police to arrive on campus when there’s an active shooter is between two and a half to three and a half minutes. What can we do to help protect our students and staff during that time?” he said. “The guardian program is meant to help students and staff from an active shooter prior to law enforcement’s arrival.”
Trustee Micah Young echoed Randklev’s point about addressing those critical first few minutes before law enforcement arrives on scene.
“At Sandy Hook, we lost a child every two seconds. At some point we have to ask ourselves, ‘At what point do we put the opportunity in our favor and stop the violence? How long are we willing to wait?’” Young said.
Parent Dixie Davis disapproved of the idea of armed teachers. From campussafetymagazine.com:
“I do not want this program, period,” she said. “There is no way I would feel safe sending my kid to school knowing a teacher is packing, no matter how well-trained. Why haven’t we seen details about how this program works?”
Keller ISD currently has 16 School Resource Officers (SRO), currently assigned. The cost of the 16 SROs is over 1.7 Million dollars a year. That is over $100,000 per year per SRO. School Guardians cost about $800 – $1000 to train a year. A school can have about 100 trained Guardians for the cost of one SRO. A number of private companies offer the training.
The Overton ISD, a small district east of Dallas, is also considering joining the Guardian program: From dentonrc.com:
Overton ISD is considering joining the Texas Guardian Program, which would allow district employees who have passed a series of requirements to be armed on campus.
The district is expected to vote on the measure in the coming months and has reached out to the community for input. Overton ISD recently announced its interest in the program on Facebook, providing a survey to get feedback.
Through my research, I have been unable to find a school district using the Guardian program, which has had a mass murder event.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.