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Should public school districts allow teachers to carry concealed weapons? This is a question that continues to be posed -- and debated -- in a wake of ongoing concerns surrounding school violence.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, TheBlaze told you about Harrold, Texas, a tiny town that has allowed its teachers to arm themselves since 2007. With little money to hire armed security, affording educators the right to carry guns has widely been seen as a successful work-around in a town that only has one public school for K-12. Now, additional districts in southeast Texas -- and across the state -- are following Harrold's lead and will also allow teachers to have firearms in the classroom.
Ganado and Louise, a city and a town, are two of the most recent localities within the state to implement this new-found change. While critics of arming teachers would cite security concerns and argue against such a policy, Ganado Superintendent Jeff Black told KHOU-TV that the entire premise behind the notion is that allowing teachers to carry will make the district safer for students and faculty, alike.
The Ganado district educates 650 students in its public school system. Already, the community has a low crime rate, with the local police chief claiming that not a single murder has occurred in the city since he became an officer 15 years ago.
Rather than serving as a blanket policy with little oversight, teachers who wish to carry guns in the classroom in Ganado must have approval from the board of education. If granted the ability to do so, their identities will be kept anonymous.
The actions being taken in these areas mirror similar decisions of late by other Texas school districts. The Union Grove Independent School District in Gladewater, Texas, also recently made the same decision, announcing that its local schools will allow teachers to carry guns. Other institutions and districts in the state are also considering similar measures in an effort to better protect faculty and students.
Earlier this week, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the movement going on in Texas isn't just a local phenomenon. Officials at the state level are also considering expanding current law to include special training standards and funding methods for those school districts that do, indeed, decide that arming teachers is the best foot forward.
Texas law currently bans guns unless schools have given written permission -- something that is now on the rise in the wake of Sandy Hook and increased security concerns. So far, at least five districts in Texas have allowed for guns, with others currently considering similar provisions.