Texas school district defends teacher gun policy
Teachers carrying guns to school is one idea being offered to protect students in the wake of the deadly school attack in Connecticut. It's a reality in the remote town of Harrold, Texas, and the superintendent of that school district defended the plan in the wake of the school shootings.
Echoes of Harrold's so-called "Guardian Plan" are being heard beyond the hallways of this sparsely populated community. School districts across the nation are looking at the town's school district to see if its weapons policy is something they want to emulate.
"My mantra has been this: as school personnel with children here, we are our first responders," explained Superintendent David Thweatt.
Thweatt believes teachers armed with a gun can help prevent a school shooting.
"My goal is if someone tries to come in and hurt my little ones that they are killed," he said.
In 2007 the district adopted a policy known as the Guardian Plan. It has four components but essentially teachers who have a concealed handgun license can carry a gun with them to school.
In the five years it has been in place, Thweatt says there have been no incidents at the school and he attributes that to the extra security measures they've taken.
"It's just like seeing a clock in the room, not even in your mind. You just know that it's there," said one student.
"I like it because it kind of makes me feel safer because I mean, we don't have a police station here," said Madison Templeton, student.
That was the main purpose of the plan. The nearest law enforcement agency was 30 minutes away, and school administrators were concerned that if a shooter came to the school, they wouldn't stand a chance.
"We need to be here to protect our children not four or five minutes or six minutes from now. We need to protect them now," said Thweatt.
Michael Hopkins, a father of two, agrees.
"I don't have any issues with it at all. If one of those guys gets into the school, he's met with an armed resistance," said Hopkins.
103 students walk the halls every day. Thweatt says it's his job to protect students and teachers.