Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) unleashed plans to post armed United States military veterans and retired police officers on Texas school campuses to defend students and teachers – a strategy devised in order to increase security following the Santa Fe High School shooting massacre killing 10.
After meeting with superintendents, administrators and law enforcement officials on May 22, Abbott issued a security plan May 30 announcing new “safety practices laws” that must be added to change existing ones – a plan that is said to stop at nothing to protect teachers and students.
“The overall theme of the day was the importance of partnering with local law enforcement to plan for emergency situations,” the School Safety Action Plan declared. “Superintendents and other school officials also discussed zero-tolerance policies for serious threats made in the classroom … indicat[ing] that they feel hamstrung by the current laws of the state and are forced to keep students in classrooms who represent a threat to themselves, teachers or other students.”
Enough is enough
Increased safety measures to ensure campus safety include an increased number of police on Texas public school campuses.
“The plan calls for a greater law enforcement presence throughout Texas schools by all means necessary,” Breitbart News reported. “This includes having officers use schools as a stop for ‘breaks, lunch, or to file reports.’”
In addition, Abbott is requesting grants from the state to assist in offsetting the cost to provide work spaces for police officers on public school campuses in order to augment a larger security presence on campuses.
“[This plan is asking schools] to provide office space for a local or state law enforcement official to work from,” Abbott urged in his plan.
Bring on the vets …
Besides summoning a larger police presence on public school campuses, Abbott wants U.S. military veterans and police who have retired from the force to step up school security.
“Abbott’s plan also focuses on the use of retired police officers and employing veterans to serve as armed patrols in Texas schools,” Breitbart’s A.W.R. Hawkins divulged. “Texas public schools are permitted to hire any person who is a licensed peace officer to provide campus security.”
Because of their years of professional experience protecting and serving the community, hiring retired police officers is being touted as one of the most efficient and practical safety solutions.
“Texas retired and off-duty peace officers already have extensive firearms and emergency response training – and many would be willing and able to protect Texas campuses,” Abbott’s plan explained before urging action steps. “Texas should authorize schools to prioritize recruitment and hiring of such personnel to protect their campuses and their student bodies, faculty, employees and guests. Hiring should prioritize individuals with the most applicable skill sets (i.e., former police, sheriffs and constables).”
Asking veterans to answer the call of duty to defend, once again, and protect the nation’s youth is another part of the plan that Abbott argues makes perfect sense.
“In addition, the state should create a pathway for our veterans – many of whom have extensive firearm training – to help protect our schools through a modified school marshal program that ensures they have the appropriate training to transition their expertise into the campus environment,” Hawkins noted. “Veterans who complete tailored training and background checks should have the ability to once again serve their communities in times of need.”
Don’t mess with Texas teachers
Along with Abbott’s call for veterans and retired police to help protect the schools, he is also pushing a plan to arm more teachers and staff members on Texas campuses to deter, fend off and eliminate school threats.
“There are more than 1,000 public school districts in Texas, and about 170 of them let teachers and administrators carry concealed weapons on school grounds,” Fox 5 informed.
The nation’s largest gun rights group and President Donald Trump are both strong supporters of getting faculty and staff locked and loaded to counter attacks.
“The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other groups dedicated to protecting Second Amendment rights have advocated for armed teachers in American classrooms for years,” the San Diego Fox station noted. “On Thursday, President Trump – in reaction to calls for more gun control in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – suggested teachers who undergo gun training get bonuses.”
One policy already in effect – the “Guardian” program – has been successfully protecting students for four years at the Callisburgh School District 85 miles north of Dallas, where a small volunteer force of annually trained school staff are packing concealed firearms on campus.
Callisburgh School District Superintendent Steve Clugston – whose campuses don signs in the front with warnings reading, “May use whatever force is necessary to protect our students,” says no measures should be spared when it comes to students’ safety.
“We’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect our kids and staff,” Clugston impressed to CNN. “We don’t want to be at the mercy of somebody that’s intent on doing harm. We’re trying to put our teachers in a position to be better equipped to protect their kids. And I have complete faith in our team – that they’re willing to stand up and protect our people.”
During CNN’s recent townhall on guns, both advocates and dissenters of arming teachers voiced their opinions.
“I feel protected,” a Callisburgh High School student who chose to remain anonymous expressed. “I don’t feel like they’re going to threaten me in any way. I feel like if someone came in, I know that they’re going to handle it. So, I feel very protected.”
But Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel – who heads the police department where the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida took place – is against arming teachers as a safety measure.
“I don’t believe teachers should be armed,” Israel insisted. “I believe teachers should teach.”
But this “cop-out” fails to address school shooters in rural areas, where police cannot be relied upon for an immediate response to a campus attack.
“Clugston said Callisburg doesn’t have a local police department, and instead relies on the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office for protection,” Fox 5 noted. “He says the district needs the guardian program to keep students safe because Cooke County is so large – it’s almost 900 square miles and runs from just north of Dallas to the Oklahoma state line – it could take sheriff’s deputies several minutes to respond to something like a shooting at the school.”