Carthage ISD to arm school personnel - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Carthage ISD approves armed school personnel

Carthage ISD will train school personnel to carry weapons on campus. Carthage ISD will train school personnel to carry weapons on campus.

Some personnel at Carthage ISD schools will soon be packing heat, thanks to approval of a plan that includes authorization to carry weapons on campus and the training to use them.  

Carthage ISD Superintendent Glenn Hambrick says it's part of an effort to improve security on campus, driven by the realization that schools here are just as vulnerable as Sandy Hook Elementary School was when a 20-year-old man fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members there in Newtown, Connecticut on that horrific day in December 2012.

"In order to stop an armed intruder, we're not going to be able to do it with a pencil and a notebook," explains Dr. Hambrick. That's when he started the process of adopting what's known as the "Guardian Plan," which acknowledges that the teachers are the true first responders and seeks to prepare them.

The district's 5 campuses have already implemented several new security measures, from magnetic doors to security cameras, but Dr. Hambrick says 1 factor kept coming up in his research, no matter what they did to make their school safer. "In all of our research, we still found that there is a 3-5 minute window before local law enforcement can respond, and what we also found is that it only takes a person that long to seriously devastate a school."

That's where the Guardian Plan comes into play. Dr. Hambrick says a number of unidentified school personnel will be selected to undergo extensive training, psychological testing and licensing before being authorized to carry a weapon at school. Training for some has already begun.
Carthage High School Principal Otis Amy says safety is top priority. "When I first heard about it, I was a bit apprehensive about having a weapon on campus period, but in the event of a tragedy, it would make our school safer to have the weapons."
Assistant Principal Wade Watson says it shows how important the students are to the district. "It shows that Carthage High School and Carthage ISD is willing to do anything to protect the kids."
Many in Carthage, including faculty and staff of Carthage High School, say they feel the same way about the idea of arming teachers. They say they don't like it, but they understand it that it is for the safety of the students.
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