For Texas conservatives, armed teachers are a solution to school shootings -Breaking
By Alexandra Ulmer
(Reuters) – Immediately after Tuesday’s school shooting in Texas, conservative politicians reacted with another push for arming school officials to protect students – a notion that has raised strong objections among teachers, researchers and gun control activists.
Fox News’ Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General said that “We can arm, prepare and train teachers to respond rapidly because the truth is we don’t have the resources necessary to have law enforcement in every school.”
Texas is the first state to have such a program, called the School Marshal Program. This allows administrators and teachers to own handguns following an 80-hour training course at Texas academies.
It was created by Gov. Greg Abbott, who is a Republican. According to the Commission, there are now 261 school marshals across Texas. This is up from 34 in 2018 after a Santa Fe high school shooting.
Craig Bessent was the Wylie Independent Schools District’s assistant superintendent. Although the identities of marshals can be withheld, his role is that of a program spokesperson.
“Pre-K through high school, we have school marshals for every campus. Bessent said some we have more than one from Abilene, west of Dallas. The Wylie district is home to eight campuses.
I do keep my gun concealed in plain sight. We’re ready to respond in an emergency situation like it happened yesterday.
On Tuesday, a gunman aged 18 killed two teachers and 19 children at an elementary school in Uvalde (Texas), about halfway between San Antonio city and the Mexican border.
Bessent stated that while marshals have been responsive to many issues in the district, even with parents upset, they are a “deescalating” force, and never fired their guns.
According to the Commission, to be a marshal, you must work in a school, pass a psychological test, and have a permit to carry.
It said that prospective marshals undergo training in weapon proficiency and “active shoter response”, but refused to reveal its material with Reuters.
Abbott’s office didn’t respond to my request for more information about the scope of the program and its success metrics.
Gun control advocates see the program as another step in the wrong direction for the United States. The country is the most heavily armed in the world, and also has the highest gun deaths rate.
Shannon Watts (founder of Moms Demand Action), stated that “the Attorney General’s comments were yet another indicator that the gun lobby lackingeys ‘leading Texas’ will do literally anything in order to avoid addressing gun violence.”
Texas State Teachers Association has resisted the school marshal program. It was established in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that occurred in Newtown in 2012.
Clay Robison, spokesperson for the school said that instead of adding guns to schools, they should take additional steps to prevent guns from entering schools.
Denise Gottfredson, University of Maryland criminologist, said that arming teachers would be “ill advised”. She cited research showing that increased gun availability could lead to greater gun violence.
Gottfredson stated that these guns can be accidentally used, or teachers could deliberately carry them to unintended ends. It is possible for the guns to end up in students’ hands.