SAN ANTONIO - As President Donald Trump suggests giving teachers guns to prevent further mass shootings, staff members at dozens of Texas school districts may already be packing heat.
The Texas Association of School Boards said it knows of 172 districts that allow staff to carry firearms and one district that has a school marshal program in its policies. The TASB originally told KSAT on Thursday there were 169 districts but revised that number after receiving notices of more districts that have adopted similar policies.
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TASB spokeswoman Theresa Gage suggested that number could grow.
Gage said the district would have to decide on whether staff members would be permitted to carry a gun. The TASB does not have a list of individual districts with those policies.
Locally, Medina ISD posted signs in 2016 warning visitors that staff at the school "may be armed." The school board president confirmed to KSAT that the signs are still there.
But giving teachers guns doesn't appeal to every parent. As Esther Arias waited to pick up her fifth-grade daughter from Margil Elementary, she balked at the idea.
"Nowadays, you don't know what kind of kid -- even mine -- could get up and get the gun, and you never know," she said.
She and other concerned parents aren't alone.
"Teachers don't want guns," said Noel Candelaria, president of the Texas State Teachers Association. "They want less guns."
Candelaria said trained professionals, such as police officers, should handle security. Teachers, on the other hand, should teach.
"We're not asking for more armed teachers," he said. "Districts that have to do that, that's because that's their only option."
The opinions aren't uniform. Candelaria acknowledged that some teachers have said they would be willing to carry a weapon, nor was every parent at Margil against the idea.
"I feel like it would be good because there's a way to stop (school shooters)," said Fabian Crossland, whose son is a kindergartner.
At the moment though, San Antonio Independent School District, which Margil is a part of, isn't considering that, a district spokeswoman wrote in an email to KSAT, noting the district already has a police department and other safety and security measures.
Because people may disagree on how to protect children, everyone knows they must.
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