The state of Texas has a very pro-gun reputation. It’s probably because it’s the state most associated with cowboys in people’s minds, not because it’s always been the most gun-friendly state in the nation. After all, it wasn’t.
But it was never particularly anti-gun, either.
Now, though, it’s far more favorable to the Second Amendment than in the past. Part of that is the effort to allow teachers to carry firearms in schools.
However, it seems some are nervous about that.
For now, the guardian program is not widespread across North Texas, but the close vote in Keller as well as the impassioned comments from parents in the district sitting on both sides of the topic suggests that it will continue to be contentiously debated any time it comes up.
In Dallas County, districts and teachers continue to monitor the discussion around allowing faculty to be armed in the classroom but aren’t yet ready to go all-in on the guardian plan. In many cases, there are already personnel in place to handle incidents of violence.
Dallas Independent School District employs its own police officers, who do carry weapons, as well as unarmed “school resource officers,” sworn law enforcement officers with arrest powers. Before the start of the 2022 school year the district announced a new safety plan that calls for each DISD school to conduct seven types of standard response protocol (SRP) drills per year.
As for the teachers of the DISD, carrying guns to school isn’t something they’re ready to accept, according to Rena Honea, president of Dallas education employees union Alliance-AFT. “The position of Alliance-AFT in Dallas regarding arming teachers and school employees is that we are against this reaction to school safety,” Honea wrote in a statement provided to the Observer.
Honea noted that when her organization polled its teachers in June, 77% said they were uncomfortable with being armed in the classroom.
“They felt that other measures made more sense and that our elected legislators were expected to take action to provide safety measures,” Honea explained. “Teachers cannot be expected to become highly trained law enforcement officers and use guns in a crisis without endangering students or themselves.”
No one is expecting them to become “highly trained law enforcement officers.” That’s not their job. As such, they’re never going to receive the same kind of training the police receive.
But they can be trained to protect their own lives and, by extension, the lives of their students.
Let’s remember that while school resource officers exist, that’s just one person who may or may not be around when you need help. Sure, it helped at Dixon High School, but it didn’t do much to help at Parkland.
Arming teachers means that those who wish to be armed will have the means to defend themselves should that time come. It won’t matter if a school resource officer is around or hiding or whatever.
Thankfully, the state of Texas has made this a possibility for those who want to. The program is voluntary, as it should be, but I’m always baffled by the head of a teacher’s union actually opposing measures that empower teachers.
Sure, I’d get it if this was an effort to mandate teachers carry guns, but it’s not. It’s voluntary and requires training, so it makes no sense.
Well, it makes no sense until you realize that the unions are knee-deep in the same political muck as anti-gun activists, so of course they’re going to side with one another, even when it works against the interest of the union’s members.