Area school district to allow designated staff members to carry guns on campus

Staff will have to undergo psych evaluation, 80 hours of training, more

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NIXON, Texas – A school district east of San Antonio now is set to begin the process of arming certain staff at Nixon-Smiley Consolidated School District in Gonzalez County.

The school board voted 6 to 0 to move forward with adopting the guardian program within the districts.

Nixon-Smiley Superintendent Cathy Lauer says more than 100 school districts are part of the program. She says the discussion first began two years ago but grew in importance as more reports of school shootings came to light. The district held town halls and two surveys: one for the community, another for the students.

In the student survey, 50 percent of participants wanted the district to adopt the policy. A little over 13 percent voted against it. Nearly 16 percent voted in favor of having a school resource officer and 21 percent said they were not sure.

In the community survey, nearly 80 percent of people were in favor of having designated staff members carry a handgun as part of the district’s emergency plan. About 10 percent said no. Another 10 percent were unsure.

Lauer says there is a limited law enforcement presence on site, but if they are called away for another situation it leaves the district vulnerable. Deputies with the Gonzalez County Sheriff’s Office are about 30 minutes away.

Lauer says adopting the Guardian Program will help cut down response times if the district finds itself facing a shooter situation.

While Monday night’s vote allows the district to move forward with their plans, it’s not clear when the program will be implemented.

Staff who have volunteered to participate must meet certain requirements and be selected to be a part of the program. The requirements include a psychological exam and 80 hours of training. They must then requalify two to three times a year to remain eligible.


About the Author:

Adrian Ortega is a news producer for the Nightbeat.