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Armed Guards In Schools: Is It Even Legal?

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
Andrea joined CBS 11 and TXA 21 in September 2010, one day befo...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As school districts across North Texas debate whether or not to hire armed security guards to protect campuses, the state law on whether it is even legal to do so remains unclear.

A provision in the Texas Education Code reads, “If a board of trustees authorizes a person employed as a security personnel to carry a weapon, the person must be a commissioned peace officer.”

CBS 11 News asked the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Education Agency and Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education if hiring private security guards to protect schools is against state law. None of them could provide a definitive answer. “We can’t get clear answers because the law’s not clear,” said Peter Schulte, an attorney and former police officer.

The Plano Independent School District has discussed adding private armed security guards to each of its 72 campuses. A spokesperson said that the district is still conducting research on the issue.

Last week, a small school district near Corpus Christi, the Sinton Independent School District, hired armed guards to patrol each of its schools.

Schulte said that the law can be interpreted different ways, making it difficult for school districts to take action. “We’re going to have to go back to the legislature and get some clarity on what they intend under the law,” he said.

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