Officials with the Santa Fe Independent School District have announced that schools will now be protected by armed school staff as part of the state of Texas’ Guardian Plan, which allows for trained and vetted volunteer teachers and staff to carry firearms as a first line of defense against an active shooter.
Unfortunately, the students and staff at Santa Fe High School know all too well what that unthinkable horror is like, because in 2018 a student killed 10 people and injured 13 others. Ever since, the school board has been looking at ways to best keep students safe, and ultimately decided on the Guardian Plan as their answer.
From the Texas Tribune:
School board President Rusty Norman told The Texas Tribune the district ultimately chose the Guardian Plan over the school marshal program because it allows employees to carry firearms on their person rather than in a lockbox.
“This is not some knee-jerk reaction, this is not something we are taking lightly,” said Norman, adding that more than 300 school districts across Texas have implemented the Guardian Plan. “We have a school and we have a community that suffered a mass tragedy, and we’ve had to respond accordingly, with things that others may or may not choose to do.”
Starting March 16, when Santa Fe students and staff return from spring break, signs will be posted around school buildings indicating that personnel on campus may be armed, Norman said. School employees will be able to volunteer to become a Guardian if they have a handgun license, though the application process has yet to formally begin, he said.
The district plans to fund the Guardian Program out of its general fund and will pay for the Guardians’ training, Superintendent Leigh Wall told The Texas Tribune.
There doesn’t seem to be much opposition to the idea within Santa Fe itself, though the Texas Tribune did find a former legislator who said he was “surprised” the district didn’t adopt the school Marshal plan that he authored. Jason Villalba says the Marshal program requires firearms to be kept in a lockbox, which he says made some parents feel better about the idea of staff having access to a firearm.
According to Rusty Norman of the Santa Fe school board, they considered the other plan, but felt it didn’t suit the needs of the district.
Approved applicants for Santa Fe ISD’s Guardian Program will be required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of training and meet the same marksmanship standards as a Santa Fe ISD police officer, Norman said.
The selection process will also require criminal background screening and psychological evaluations using the same process and standards as police officer applicants, according to a district press release.
“We’re not creating programs where we’re going to have people out there acting as first responders,” Norman said. “This is just another layer as a last line of defense, if something gets past all of those other layers and becomes an issue in a classroom or hallway or in one of the school facilities, that someone may be there that could protect themselves along with all the students and staff that are around them.”
Joe Biden opposes arming teachers. I’m curious if he’d accuse Mr. Norman and the school board members in Santa Fe of caring more about guns than kids, or being in the pocket of “the gun lobby” because they’ve decided to take this step. What would he think about the teachers who are volunteering to serve as an armed response, if necessary, to an active assailant on campus? Would he say they’re “full of shit”, as he called the gun owner in Michigan who dared question Biden about another one of his gun control proposals?
The anti-gun crowd doesn’t just want to make it harder for you to protect yourself. They want to make it impossible for school districts to determine for themselves how best to protect students. Biden, Bloomberg, and the rest talk a lot about protecting kids, but their real agenda is simply about disarming adults as much as possible, even at the expense of student safety.