A small hill country school could take a historic step Thursday by voting to allow teachers and staff to carry guns in the classroom and throughout the campus.
The Hunt School employs nearly 30 staff members and is home to 196 pre-k through 8th grade students.
Being armed on campus would be optional, said Hunt ISD Superintendent Crystal Dockery.
“This will be something that if a teacher comes to me and says they are interested in participating in some type of program like that, the board will then move forward with whether or not they will move forward with that particular person,” said Dockery.
For security purposes, only the school board, law enforcement officials and Dockery should know which staff members are carrying weapons, she said.
“If people are bringing guns into our schools and causing harm, then I would think that the people that were to protect our children would be equally as armed,” said Hunt resident, Sherry Davenport.
Dockery says the district review its safety policies and procedures annually and began doing so in September 2012.
But even more focus was placed on that review following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
“This was not a reflexive action based on what happened at Sandy Hook,” Dockery said. “Its just an overall review of our basic procedures and it changes from year to year based on basic situations and classroom setups.”
The policy states that each teacher who chooses to carry must get a concealed handgun license and go through various types of training.
“Concealed handgun training, also go through hostage situation training. They will have gone through lots of training just dealing with what would we do, how would we react,” Dockery said. “Possibly a psychological assessment much like they do for law enforcement officials.”
The district is working with local law enforcement to determine what type of training would be required.
“If they have it in their desk or something that’s locked up, I think that’s okay,” said resident Chuck Baether.
But the policy states guns must be concealed and carried on staff members throughout the school day, not kept in the classroom or in a desk.
“This policy is not going to magically change a teacher into a law enforcement official. Our role will strictly be to try to protect the children to the best of our ability,” said Dockery.
The Hunt ISD school board will vote on the policy Thursday. But even if it is approved, there is still much to be decided.
The board must look at when staff could begin carrying guns, just how many training hours and what types they will have to go through first and how the guns and ammunition would be paid for.