FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – December will mark two years since 20 students and six adults were gunned down inside of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In the time since that tragedy, schools across the country have added security cameras and enforced updated security measures.
But some school districts in Texas do not believe that those steps are enough to ensure the safety of students.
A new state law allows trained school staff members to carry guns on campus. The training program started Monday at Tarrant County College’s northwest campus. A total of seven people are training now, in a class that is similar to a law enforcement academy.
The trainees were selected by their school systems, and all have had a psychological evaluation. They must have already had concealed handgun licenses, and gotten a green light from the Texas Association of Law Enforcement after submitting an application.
Those individuals who are being trained will continue their learning over the next nine days — for a total of 80 hours — before finding out if they have passed, and will become the state’s first school marshals. The identities of the trainees are being kept secret as part of House Bill 1009. The goal is to have the armed and trained school marshals continue their work as educators, while simply adding the skills to handle situations like a shooter on campus.
Among the training activities, the educators will be going to a gun range and discussing recent school shooting tragedies, in order to pull lessons from those events and hopefully learn from the past mistakes. “Maybe they can take some of this information and maybe even conduct their own investigation,” said school marshal instructor Rafael Perea. “Knowing that, ‘Hey, this could happen in my school system,’ and so maybe they can catch it before it happens.”
Most of the school districts taking part in this program are smaller in size. The larger school districts in North Texas — including both the Dallas Independent School District and the Fort Worth Independent School District — have said that they will not be participating.
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