During school safety hearing, Texas lawmakers express support for arming faculty and staff — maybe even with rifles
Following Gov. Greg Abbott's recommendations on school gun safety, members of a Senate committee on school violence debated the efficacy of expanding programs that already arm faculty and school staff.
It's a longish article, go read it, I'm not going to summarize it but a couple points come to mind.
The first half of the article concerns discussion on the "Marshal Plan," and it seems that it was discussed a lot in the committee hearing.
To me, the Marshal Plan is a dud. It is too restrictive on the number of people who can be armed (one per 400 students), and it is too restrictive on the individual who is armed, i.e. his handgun has to stay locked up.
To my knowledge, only one school district has actually adopted the Marshal Plan -- the other 170+ districts that have gone with armed staff have adopted the Guardian Plan because of the Marshal Plan limitations.
So when discussion swung to the Guardian Plan, this series of comments concerned me:
The "lack of oversight" is why the Guardian Plan works and the Marshal one doesn't. Every school policy that I have read the implements the Guardian Plan makes a point of coordinating with the local police -- frankly, Vickers' (exec director of TCOLE) comments sound like bureaucratic turf gathering. The homegrown guardian plans all seem to include psychological testing, completion of the state course for armed staff, training, etc.The lack of oversight for the guardian plan was a point of concern for committee members and Kim Vickers, executive director of Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Vickers, a 38-year law enforcement veteran, said schools are not required to alert local police that they are participating in the program, which opens the risk of friendly fire during a school shooting.
“I’m built on training and preparation,” Vickers said. “And the idea of putting somebody into a setting with our kids and having a gun without preparing them is not fair for any party.”
Whitmire asked the committee to examine how the program deals with local police.
Most all of the districts that have adopted the Guardian Plan are smaller outfits whose budgets can't afford hiring deputies but are too far away from the Sheriff's office to rely on the sheriff's response time. They take the resources out of hide to arm a few of the teachers and administrators, and I suspect are quite dedicated about it.
Going just from the article, it seems that the only school district to testify at the hearing was one of the few who has adopted the school marshal program -- there are not quotes from any of the districts that use the guardian program. That, and the fact that this hearing was generated by the Governor's action plan on school safety makes me wonder if there is now a push afoot to "corral" all those schools and make them submit to state-level requirements and management -- that is, to create new and more bureaucracy.
As well, it appears from the article that the only "public" members in the audience to testify or comment were antis. I am suspecting that this hearing was publicized through school channels like the education organizations, which are largely anti-2A, and not through other channels, such as the TSRA. At least I didn't see any emails about it.
This is only one article, and I may not have all the info here, but I would hate to see a noble effort, such as protecting schools through the grass-roots level efforts of the guardian programs, subverted and made ineffective through the imposition of an "oversight" bureaucracy.