Houston: In the wake of a slew of shooting incidents in America, a US school district has voted to allow some teachers to carry guns to make schools safer and prevent incidents like the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre.
The Keene Independent School District in Johnson County, Texas, which has four campuses, voted 6 to 1 to approve the “Guardian Programme”. School board members approved the policy that would allow a few select staff members inside its four campuses to carry a gun. The carriers would be selected by the district, who would do so only if they wanted to and would carry a gun provided by the district.
The measure will take affect sometime next year, as early as February or early March. Argyle in Texas adopted a similar proposal last year, as have several other districts across the state. A school district is a form of special-purpose district which serves to operate local public, primary and secondary schools.
Keene Independent School District Police Chief Tim Kosar plans 80 hours of training for the ‘Guardian Programme’ participants in order to maintain proficiency and ensure safety. The district’s superintendent, Ricky Stephens, was quoted by ABC News affiliate WFAA8-TV as saying he could not have imagined such a programme a few years ago but all that changed on December 14, 2012 when a mentally-ill man shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
Since then, the Texas Legislature has enacted a ‘School Marshal’ programme to allow staff to carry weapons on campus. America has been rocked by a slew of shooting incidents recently which have prompted calls for firming up security at vulnerable public places including schools.
Last month, a radicalised couple — 28-year-old Pakistani-American Syed Rizwan Farook and his 29-year-old Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik — massacred 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California. Earlier this week, all public schools in Los Angeles area were closed due to an unspecified “electronic” threat. Students in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Houston also received threats similar to the ones received by the Los Angeles and New York school districts.