As gun debate persists, ETX school discusses controversial safety policy

As gun debate persists, ETX school discusses controversial safety policy
Source: Christian Piekos

CARTHAGE, TX (KSLA) - After 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day, President Donald Trump suggested having a select number of teachers armed in classrooms following thorough vetting and training.

Well, a school district in East Texas has had a similar policy in place for the past four years and hasn't looked back yet.

"When you consider it takes law enforcement three to five minutes to respond in nearly every school shooting, it's too late," said Dr. Glenn Hambrick, superintendent of the Carthage Independent School District. "We are not crazy about having to arm staff, so if someone has a better idea, we'll be glad to listen."

Carthage instituted the "Guardian" plan in 2014 following a number of school shootings across the nation. To maintain anonymity, students do not know which teachers are armed.

"We feel like we're in the best position to protect our students and our staff," said Hambrick."If we have armed staff members and people don't know who they are, they may be a little more reluctant to become an active shooter."

Payton Klysen graduated from Carthage High School in 2013, a year before the program was put into practice.

"The gesture behind it make sense, I think there are other ways to go about it," said Klysen. "I definitely think it's a step in the right direction."

Hambrick said all of its armed teachers go through intense psychological screenings and rigorous marksmanship courses.

"All I can tell you is it's very difficult, it's not easy to get through," said Hambrick. "Once you're in, the skills that you have to posses shooting-wise are pretty significant."

After the latest mass shooting at a school, Hambrick said it's just another reason more schools need to be prepared and start considering stricter security measures in classrooms.

"We're glad to have this program in place, but like any school, we look at our security measures and see how we can do better," said Hambrick.

The Carthage Independent School District is just one of 172 other Texas independent school districts which opted to arm it's teachers. That equates to 17 percent of independent school districts in the Lone Star State arming faculty.

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