POSTED: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 4:08pm
Longview, TX — Faculty and staff at Leverett’s Chapel ISD have been given the green light to carry concealed weapons on campus this fall, Superintendent Donna Johnson said Thursday.
Johnson said the decision, made during the district’s board of trustees meeting Aug. 26, will greatly enhance the ability of the small school district to protect its students.
“We are a rural district,” Johnson said. “We don’t have police officers right here that would be here immediately and they can never get here fast enough. We’re not saying this is going to solve all of our problems, but we’re just trying to do the best we can.”
Johnson said the staff members who will carry concealed firearms will be required to have advanced weapons training beyond what is required for the basic Concealed Handgun License.
It is against the law for a person to bring a weapon onto a school campus — but there is an exception if the school board authorizes specific school employees to possess guns on school property, at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events, and at board meetings.
Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Price said he commends and supports the district for taking a “proactive stance” toward protecting the safety of students and staff.
“Even if it was only one or two minutes until law enforcement arrived, it may be too late,” he said. “I look at this from the perspective of the school district trying its best to protect its students. I can’t fault them for that.”
But Price said he has some concerns over school staff members carrying guns because they are not trained in crisis situations like a certified peace officer.
“If you have a situation of that nature, we’re (law enforcement) coming,” the sheriff said. “The staff need to know what to do once law enforcement shows up. We don’t want to have an incident on top of an incident.”
Read more from the Longview News-Journal.