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Boyd ISD weighs security options; School marshals among possibilities

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 24, 2018
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Boyd ISD is considering all security options, including the possibility of arming some staff members.

During a lengthy discussion at Thursday night’s school board meeting, the installation of additional cameras, adding security guards, securing campus entry points and starting a school marshal program were mentioned as options. Trustees asked Boyd ISD Superintendent Ted West to bring back information on a variety of measures in April.

The board will also look to approve the pact with the city of Boyd for a school resource officer. (Read a related story on page 3A.)

“We asked [West] to put together an outline for upgrading the current security system,” said Board President Bill Childress. “We need to look into what we can do in the short term to implement immediately – get new cameras and go through lockdown drills. And we need to look at the long term, what we can implement by next school year – a marshal program or SRO. We want to outline all the options, gather information and make the best decision for everyone.”

The discussion came a little more than a month after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., where 17 students were killed at a high school.

“It’s a shame our environment is that way now and a shame we have to talk about this. It’s an issue around the country we have to deal with,” Childress said. “The safety of not only our students, but also our employees, is a priority. We have to look at every option available to protect our students and employees.”

West said he started Friday morning combing through options and will have recommendations for the board. The district will also be forming a safety committee that will include staff and parents.

“[The board] wants to know any and all options and the different things we can do,” West said. “Our goal is to make everyone feel comfortable to bring their kids to school. If more visible measures are what it takes to instill confidence, that’s what we need to do.”

Parent Randy Medlock addressed the board about security concerns and proposed arming staff members. As a license-to-carry holder, he inquired about receiving written authorization to carry at Boyd activities.

“An SRO assigned to a school district is a great idea. However, in the case of Boyd, if that individual is at the elementary school when an alarm goes off, they, again, are minutes away,” Medlock said. “I believe the best way to reduce the casualties and wounded is to look into getting certain individuals properly trained to be armed on campus and confront an active shooter threat head on as soon as possible.”

The question of armed personnel at the school was part of a recent survey for parents, according to West. He said there is more to discuss on the issue of implementing a school marshal program.

“More and more districts are going to this type of program introducing firearms into schools. There’s lots of variables to consider,” West said. “The best person to have a firearm is a certified police officer. But this is another option. There’s an extensive list of things that would need to be done. I’m all for it and believe it could be an effective deterrent to someone that wants to do harm, knowing that someone could fight back.”

West told the board Thursday that staff members would have to go through a minimum of 80 hours of training and take a psychological test, the same as a police officer. The staff member must also be a license-to-carry certificate holder.

“I’m not an expert in security, but I feel we need to consider all options. [School marshals] are one of the options,” Childress said. “We’re going to investigate and gather all the data we can.”

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