Following the Florida school shooting that left 17 dead, some have been calling for lawmakers to allow teachers to carry guns to deter future would-be shooters.
A school district in Texas already allows armed teachers.
The Medina Independent School District, which has 303 students, has allowed teachers to carry weapons on campuses since 2016.
A sign at the entrance of one of the schools tells people coming in.
“Attention, please be aware that the staff at Medina ISD may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students,” it states, reported KSAT.
Superintendent Penny White told the broadcaster the board of trustees had decided to put up the sign after about a year of discussion.
“You never know if there’s a transient or someone who has zeroed in on harming a child,” White said.
“I think that anybody who might have a thought about harming someone in mind might think twice about it.”
Another Texas district, the Argyle Independent School District, was designated in 2014 to allow some employees to carry guns, reported WFAA.
And a third district, the Keene Independent School District, voted for the same in 2015.
The designations are possible through the Protection of Texas Children Law that was passed in 2013. The law allows employees in the state to create “school marshals” for campuses. Those marshals are usually teachers, who must undergo extensive active shooter and firearms training in Texas in addition to being screened for mental health problems.
Once the marshals get a license, they must renew it every two years by undergoing all the training again.
In Keene, Superintendent Ricky Stephens said the marshals have really helped.
“Administrators and teachers are going to be the first ones who arrive, so do you want them to arrive with a pencil or a pistol?” Stephens said.
Some parents have also expressed support.
Arkansas is among the other states that allow schools to train teachers to carry firearms.
Cheyne Dougan, an assistant principal in Clarksville, Arkansas, was training teachers there to carry firearms back in 2013, making use of a law that lets licensed, armed security guards be on campuses.
“The plan we’ve been given in the past is `Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,'” Superintendent David Hopkins told the New York Daily News. But as deadly incidents continued to happen in schools the district opted for a new way. “That’s not a plan [now],” he added.
Lawmakers in other states have become interested in a similar approach.
For instance, in Alabama, a State Representative said he would introduce legislation that would allow some teachers and administrators to carry guns during school hours.
Concerned educators reached out and compelled him to act following the massacre in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.
“They wanted to know what we could do to prevent that in Alabama,” Will Ainsworth told Fox17. “Our kids are literally sitting ducks. You saw the video online of kids having to hide behind desks – they were literally defenseless. That’s where this came from.”
The shooting has prompted lawmakers in Florida to try to amend a state law that prohibits firearms on school grounds.