Texas School District Moves to Train Staff to be Armed for Active Shooter Situations

On December 12, 2022, the Keller Independent School District (KISD) board voted to allow staff to be armed in active shooter situations. As Dean Weingarten of AmmoLand noted, such a move is significant due to KISD having over 35,000 students, making it one of the largest school districts in Texas. 

On a 4-3 vote, KISD approved this armed staff measure which effectively made it the largest school district in North Texas to implement a guardian program.

This new program would operate on a volunteer basis with a large degree of oversight. In addition, the selection process is no walk in the park. Those who want to participate must take a law enforcement psychological exam, a physical, and firearms testing with requalification twice annually. 

Over the last decade, the Texas State government has passed legislation that allows school districts to have more power in shaping their own security policies.

One of the most prominent programs was the school Marshal program, which mandated a rigorous training program and put a cap on School Marshals — one per 200 students. Another program was the School Guardian plan which was more flexible and only required 15 to 20 hours of training for each school guardian. 

As of October 2022, 445 school districts are taking part in the School Guardian program.  

Weingarten highlighted the current costs of School Resource Officers (SROs) and demonstrated how the School Guardians program is a significantly more cost effective program:

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.

Ultimately, schools, not federal officials, should be determining how security is provided at schools. Let’s face it, criminals are not going to be intimidated by a gun-free zone sign. Such signs effectively signal that the facility in question is a criminal safe space. 

If we want safer schools, local school boards must be allowed to freely determine their own security policies — having trained staff, hiring private security, recruiting volunteers for security, etc.. One-size-fits-all solutions coming from DC are simply not the answer.

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