Patterico's Pontifications


School District Authorizes Armed Teachers

Filed under: Education,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 7:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Harrold school district, 150 miles NW of Fort Worth on the Texas-Oklahoma border, has decided to let teachers who hold concealed carry permits bring their weapons to class:

“Superintendent David Thweatt said a main concern was that the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection.

The district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target, Thweatt said.

Other security measures are in place, including one-way access to enter the school, state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and electric locks on doors. But after the Virginia Tech massacre and the Amish school shooting in Pennsylvania, Thweatt felt he had to take further action, he said.

“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started,” Thweatt said. “Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog.”

In addition to a valid concealed carry permit, teachers must also have permission from the school district.

School starts August 25.

UPDATE 8/20/2008: The El Paso Times reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry thinks it’s fine for teachers to carry guns on campus if they are appropriately trained and licensed. It also had more information on Harrold ISD regulations:

The [Harrold] teachers must be licensed and take crisis management training and must use bullets designed to minimize ricocheting.”


37 Responses to “School District Authorizes Armed Teachers”

  1. Guns in schools doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me. On the other hand, an armed society is a polite society. I’m glad I don’t have a dog in this fight.

    When I was in high school, sensible folks left their guns in the car. Close enough to be available, but far enough from arm’s reach to ensure at least a minute or two for reflection.

    It worked out, I don’t recall there was ever a throw-down. Unless you count the time Maslow emptied both barrels from his 12 guage on Philpots Road at noon on a weekday. But, those guys had it coming.

    Ropelight (3100ad)

  2. I hate to say it, but I’m against this, as well. Putting a gun in a classroom full of kids is a bad idea. Think about the teachers you’ve had…would you want any of them packing? Most could be easily overpowered while distracted by teaching and then you not only have an armed student but a classroom full of targets/hostages. I think a better option is to have arms secured in the office somewhere with teachers trained to retrieve and use them in extreme emergency. Or simply have a good active shooter plan and leave the rest to the cops.

    Cop the Truth (c284e7)

  3. I suppose I should be used to it by now, but I still find the way people treat firearms as so extraordinarily dangerous in and of themselves these days just bizarre.

    When I was in high school, I was on the school’s rifle team. Even here, a local high school was built only a little more than two decades ago with a small bore range in the basement.

    Grow up people. Firearms are tools. A high school campus has many tools on it just as dangerous.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. I think the wisdom of this depends on where the weapons are.

    Anyone is lives or works with or near children should have guns locked in a safe. The consequences of not doing so can be dire, as that LAPD officer Chavez discovered when his loose Glock was picked up by his son who discharged the pistol into that idiot’s back.

    So if that is the concept, I can’t say that is any more worrisome than having armed officers in the school.

    But if the idea is that the teachers are carrying concealed in the classroom–well, that’s pretty stupid. Gun retention is the reason prison guards don’t carry weapons on normal duty.

    But it is interesting how the press freaks out about citizens carrying guns vs. police officers in an environment like a school. Why, exactly, would the latter be any safer than the former? (again, see Officer Chavez for an example of LAPD weapons handling). Now that the majority of states have right to carry laws without their streets bathing in blood (as compared to say Baltimore or D.C.) you would think the MSM would realize that a legally armed U.S. citizenry is a key component of the American conception of freedom.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  5. The key here, which many overlook – or ignore, is that weapons will only be carried by those teachers/staff that are licensed by the State of Texas to carry a concealed weapon.
    Perhaps one of our TX residents can speak to the requirements involved in issueing a CCW in TX.
    Needless to say, the streets and businesses of TX are not flowing with a river of blood from all of the senseless violence brought about by the incidious influence of the cult of the gun.
    In fact, if one would care to check the stats, you would find that the community of CCW permittees are more law-abiding than their non-CCW neighbors.

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  6. A student walked into a gymnasium in my school district, in a high school about 3 miles from my elementary school, this morning…

    He had 15 grams of marijuana, and a
    \loaded pistol…he drew the weapon and was waiving it at students/teachers…..

    He was arrested by the campus officer, luckily, and was given bond of $2,000.

    Assuming that the bond is correct, that in itself might be a good reason to allow someone other than the campus officer to legally carry weapons on campus.

    Having been on both sides of a loaded weapon which the holder was prepared to use, and now, as a teacher, I’m not sure if any law that says that weapons are not allowed on campus is worth the paper it is written on. I understand that being a teacher is not any type of qualification for carrying a weapon, but, I also know as a Marine that if someone has a weapon, loaded and pointing, that there is a pretty solid chance someone will die.

    There is no law that can protect a teacher in a school setting, so, something else must do that…

    I vote for a weapon-trained teacher before I’d ever vote for any other deterrent.

    reff (b68a4f)

  7. Oh, and Cyrus…

    While I have no knowledge of this subject, I’ll make you a wager for a Subway lunch….

    More guns have been fired by criminals in a school setting than in a newsroom, even in a per capita fashion….

    Your newsroom, or any you have worked at, is a safer environment when considering illegal gun use than my school can ever be….if for no other reason than the general public cannot usually get to your newsroom, but the general public is completely allowed into my school….

    Care to wager???

    reff (b68a4f)

  8. I grew up in the midwest. We had a rifle range in the basement of the high school. I guess ‘times are different’ but it doesn’t cause me great angst to read that concealed carry holders who are teachers can carry to school.

    As has been mentioned, there are many other dangerous things available. My nerdy science group of friends, given access to chem labs and bunsen burners, managed to create enough chaos that made me swear that I would NEVER teach chemistry to high school students.

    akm (ee680a)

  9. Selected statutes from Texas concealed carry laws can be found here.

    Apart from the legal requirements that ban felons and others from applying for a permit, a concealed carry permit will not be issued unless an applicant has passed classroom and range instruction by demonstrating DPS-mandated proficiency in the rules and use of specific weapons. At least 10 hours up to 15 hours of instruction is required covering:

    “(1) the laws that relate to weapons and to the use of deadly force;
    (2) handgun use, proficiency, and safety;
    (3) nonviolent dispute resolution; and
    (4) proper storage practices for handguns with an emphasis on storage practices that eliminate the possibility of accidental injury to a child.”

    Permitees must take continuing education and demonstrate continued handgun proficiency to renew their CCW permits.

    I have relatives who have used guns their whole lives who currently hold Texas concealed carry permits. The instruction was rigorous and each one said they felt they learned from the training and improved their skills. I can say without reservation that I feel safer knowing my relatives and others like them are trained, armed, and available to protect me and my fellow citizens.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  10. #7 I won’t wager, because I am sure you are right. Schools have been a magnet for the deranged acting out for decades.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  11. Cyrus, not just the deranged. My own research, as well as the many training sessions I have endured, have taught me that normal people will act out in ways they see, feel, follow. A 12-year-old who sees the crime that many of our students see will believe that is the way to behave. When the music they enjoy tells them that to testify is to rat, they will not testify, and they are not bad kids, they just want to be left alone, to live in peace. When confronted, that same music encourages a violent reaction. It is not the only reason they respond, nor is it they only manner, but, the response is still there nonetheless.

    While I agree that some, even many, of those who bring guns onto the school yard are not “normal” as you or I might see it, the world they live in is not “normal” to us either….that does not make them deranged….

    Just different….and still dangerous….

    reff (b68a4f)

  12. #10 – Schools have been a magnet for the deranged acting out for decades.

    — Usually in the form of NEA-bots spewing Marxist indoctrination philosophy to impressionable young minds.

    Icy Truth (824779)

  13. Cyrus,

    Are you dodging the question I asked you in this thread?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  14. #13

    Not sure what you are talking about. Point me to a post number. I said about all I could say about that subject, given the paucity of data; my point there is and was is that there is a big difference between identifying and corroborative evidence, and where partial match DNA is used for the former, it is EXTREMELY relevant how many other partial matches there may be, and that given the non-random nature of the database, you have to test each database against random DNA matches and for multiple matches to understand what the data should be telling the investigator and the jury.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  15. I am never surprised by the number people who fundamentally do not trust their fellow citizens. Arms for me but not for thee…

    ThomasD (211bbb)

  16. Having dispatched during an incident when a HS student took a classroom hostage with a pistol, I’m inclined to be on the side of arming selected adults at school sites. The school did have a police officer assigned, but as he was responsible for three other sites, too, he happened to be off-campus at the time of the incident (in the officer’s defense, he did spend about 75% of the time at the HS, but the kid got lucky with his timing).

    That said, knowing a number of teachers (my wife just retired from the profession), I know of few current California teachers who would be willing (or mentally capable – i.e. “common sense” and “maturity”) to be armed at school. To be fair, I also know very few cops who would be good teachers…

    roy in nipomo (4cbd11)

  17. Could armed teachers have prevented the murder of Lawrence King?

    Or massacres like Columbine?

    I ask, I do not know.

    David Ehrenstein (699cff)

  18. 78-79, Sinai.

    Joe Bingham (7e955b)

  19. roy…
    Hey, we’re all teachers in a way, aren’t we?
    In your line of work, where would you be without Training Officers?
    The problem isn’t the attitude of teachers, it is that the environement has precluded the involvement of those with strong wills.
    If just 10-15% of the teachers were retired NCO’s, I think you would find a completely different attitude on campus, and better thinking skills in the student body. Kids would respond positively to teachers who would expect, and insist, that they perform to their potential.

    Another Drew (c3bf7a)

  20. I certainly wouldn’t want my children attending that school.

    John (69e4d6)

  21. John,

    To be clear, assuming your kids’ school were 30 minutes from police help, you would still want every teacher unarmed?

    Joe Bingham (7e955b)

  22. John ~19:

    I certainly wouldn’t want my children attending that school.

    I’m considering moving there, just so mine can.

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  23. I’m heartsick that such a situation exists, and relieved that SOME protection can be afforded.

    irongrampa (b9c4fc)

  24. Another Drew:

    The problem isn’t the attitude of teachers, it is that the environement has precluded the involvement of those with strong wills.
    If just 10-15% of the teachers were retired NCO’s, I think you would find a completely different attitude on campus, and better thinking skills in the student body.

    I concur about the environment.

    However, retired NCO’s and cop trainers would have difficulty in getting the credentials in the first place because most of them would “question authority” and call BS on their college instructors’ “touchy-feely” philosophies. Not a good way to pass a class.

    They would also be the target for complaints and lawsuits because they were “too harsh” (i.e. expected at least an attempt at performance to someone’s “dear, darling, never does anything wrong and ‘has to be understood'” child). School districts are very risk adverse and would probably be too frightened of this to even hire them.

    roy in nipomo (4cbd11)

  25. Growing up in a small farm town in Kansas during the late 70’s early 80’s, most kids drove trucks to school. Every truck had a gun rack in it and most had either a shotgun or a rifle in the rack. It was no unusual for a student or teacher to bring his new rifle, shotgun, or handgun into the school to show the teachers and students. There was never an incident of a gun being used or a threat of gun use by any of the students.

    Part of the reason was that we were all trained from an early age how to handle weapons and when and how to use them. Most of us were hunters and had seen death from firearms first hand. Another part of the reason for restraint was almost surely the knowledge that the shooter would not survive using a gun in the school. Nobody would have stood by and allowed some idiot to kill them or their friends.

    It was only after the laws were passed that forbid weapons on school property that school violence began to escalate in that small farm town school.

    So from my perspective, arm the teachers, setup a small bore range, teach firearms safety and marksmanship. Knowing that there are repercussions to your actions can be a strong deterrent to bad behavior.

    Jay Curtis (8f6541)

  26. roy @ #23…
    You are exactly right. It is the overall environement of the educracy that I object to, and that every parent who wants his child to learn to think, should object to.
    My K-12 years were filled with vets of WW-2. They did not conduct touchy-feely classes of go-along to get-along pap.
    You were expected to learn, and if you didn’t, you were expected to accept your consequences.
    And, the only guns I ever saw on campus, were possessed by members of the Marksmanship Teams.

    Another Drew (c3bf7a)

  27. Students should be able to carry weapons in case the teachers go postal. They need to defend themselves too.

    Wesson (f6c982)

  28. I don’t think you will find any State that authorizes the issuance of a CCW to anyone under 21, definitely not anyone under 18.
    But, this is an ongoing argument within the college community after VA-Tech. Many of those on affected parts of the campus were VA CCW holders who were prohibited by campus rules from bringing their firearms with them to class.

    Another Drew (c3bf7a)

  29. All that a “Gun-Free Zone” does is to tell the whackjobs with Uzis where they can expect the least resistance to their whims. Schools are also difficult to retake by police, being filled as they are with long narrow hallways (limiting fields of fire, while concentrating the innocent) and dozens, if not hundreds, of rooms, many of whom will have frightened children looking for any escape available.

    If someone wanted to seize a school and kill many children, the only thing stopping them would be the number of weapons located inside the walls of that school at the moment they arrive.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  30. Who knew the 2nd amendment extended to the classroom… well now

    Lord Nazh (ce25e3)

  31. If the 1st does, why not the 2nd?

    Another Drew (c3bf7a)

  32. Don’t even try to bring up the 10th. It’s as dead as the right to secede.

    Ropelight (42c46d)

  33. Cyrus,

    If you read through the linked thread, it’s quite clear where I asked you the relevant questions. Others were able to figure it out easily. However, I will strain, very hard, to give you the benefit of the doubt, and so I *won’t* assume the conclusion that screams out at everyone: that you have realized you screwed up, and are temporizing to save face.

    So, I’ll tell the comment numbers you should respond to: 78 and 79.

    Patterico (8bf1fb)

  34. #33

    I’ll take a look and give you my response.

    I stopped reading that thread because it became hard to follow, and to discuss statistics, you need data, and the only data that there was common ground on was the page discussing the AZ database, which of course, did not provide the information concerning 5 loci hits at issue in the LA Times article.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  35. Wesson, kids are not adults, and aren’t allowed to do all the things adults can do.

    SDN (49ba12)

  36. I’ve updated the post to add details regarding the Harrold ISD regulations for armed teachers and reaction by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  37. “…minimize ricocheting…”

    This is known as “Frangible Ammunition”, and is of the type that is carried by Fed. Air Marshalls.

    Another Drew (813962)

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