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Chico ISD to arm teachers

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, June 23, 2018
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Chico ISD has become the second Wise County school to approve a policy that allows certain teachers to carry guns on campus as a school security measure.

At Thursday night’s meeting, the school board by a 4-1 vote approved a change in the school policy which will authorize specific district employees to carry firearms on campus. The details of the actual plan are still being worked out, Superintendent Don Elsom said.

“We’re working on the plan and have been for awhile, but we’ll hopefully have the final plan [ready] by the start of school and work through the training program,” he said.

Participation in the program, which is based on the Guardian Plan, will be voluntary. All potential participants will undergo psychological evaluations.

According to the policy, any participant must maintain a current license to carry a handgun under state law. Participants must also undergo training in crisis intervention, management of hostage situations and other related topics.

The policy also states that only district-approved ammunition will be permitted in the firearms.

All district employees participating in the program will remain strictly confidential, according to the policy.

Elsom said the training will address several areas of school security.

“It will deal with … different levels of training probably with basic training, then training on how to protect a classroom, maybe something non-lethal and then possibly a lethal situation and guidelines for what they are supposed to do, because I don’t want them running up and down the hallways. I want them taking care of their area,” he said.

For security reasons, Elsom said the exact details of the plan would not be made public, but the public will be able to know the overview of the plan.

Board member Steven Cox cast the lone opposing vote, while G.A. Buckner, Cody Powell, Bill Hand and Doug Bowyer voted in favor of the policy. Board members Lori Clark and Brian Hand did not attend the meeting.

The board had been considering this action since it heard a presentation on the Guardian Plan in April followed by a discussion in closed session.

At the April meeting, Bill Cooper, a former Brock ISD school board member with nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience, explained that the Guardian Plan is one of two plans, along with the School Marshal Plan, under state law that allows teachers to carry guns on campus. Cooper recommended the Guardian Plan because he said it gave board members more flexibility to develop their own plan.

Alvord ISD approved a Guardian Plan to arm certain school employees in April.

Alvord’s plan includes a three-tiered system that ranges from training on lockdown procedures, classroom preparation and basic emergency medical skills (for all employees) up to guardians who will be authorized to have firearms on campus (following a screening process and board approval).

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