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Since January, at least 152 shootings on school grounds have killed 50 people and injured 122 across the United States. To respond to the threat of such attacks, some districts in at least 29 states has taken a controversial step. Authorizing school employees other than security guards to carry firearms on campus. Texas is one of those states.
after firing inIn which 19 children and two teachers were killed, Texas Republicans have urged schools to arm and “toughen up the target.” But Texas state laws regulating armed employees are sparing, allowing school districts to decide the type and amount of training school employees need to carry guns on campus.
Garrett Avalos, a teacher in Rankin, Texas, said, “I think that as teachers and coaches, we have an obligation to protect the other parent’s children.” Campus. “So it’s a no brainer for me.”
According to the Texas Association of School Boards, “school districts may grant written permission to anyone, including designated employees, to carry firearms on campus under Texas Penal Code 46.03”, but the law does not set standards for training. The only thing a school employee needs to carry a firearm on campus is a license to carry, which requires a background check and proficiency test. Otherwise, individual districts determine the amount and type of additional requirements, which may include active-shooter training courses and psychological evaluations.
These plans are known colloquially as “parent plans”. In 2007, the Harold Independent School District in Harold, Texas reportedly became the first district in the state to adopt a plan now known as the Parent Plan. An audit by the Texas School Safety Center found that as of 2020, 280 of 1,022 school districts have adopted some version of one.
Jeff Sellers is the owner of Schools on Target, which provides firearms instruction to school employees through its Texas School Guardian Program. He told CBS reports that for his program, he requires his trainees to shoot with 90% accuracy and 40 hours of training before they can pass, and they also require the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which There is a psychological assessment commonly used to assess candidates. The board which establishes law. After course completion, he then works with school administrators to help them get parental approval.
Sellers says that legally, teachers can be armed in schools without any training, if the district so decides. But he says the schools he works with do their best to establish comprehensive requirements.
“We’re working with the teachers,” Sellers said. “Our clients are very intelligent people. They have boards that hold them accountable.”
Despite these efforts to arm teachers, Sonali Rajan, who researches school violence at Columbia University, says there is no evidence that this makes schools safer.
“There is no science available at this time, there is none at all, that shows that armed teachers will either prevent gun violence from starting, nor will it prevent or reduce fatality of shootings,” Rajan said. he said. “There is evidence that shows very clearly and very definitely that increased presence of firearms leads to increased firearm violence and firearm-related harm.”
Two weeks after the Uvalde shooting, the Texas American Federation of Teachers surveyed 5,100 Texans, of whom 4,673 were school employees. Of all respondents, 76% said they “do not want to be armed or expect to stop a gunman.”
But Sellers believes there is no alternative.
“No gun control law is going to stop an evil person from committing an evil act,” he said. “If they don’t have guns, they’re going to use knives, they’re going to use explosives, they’re going to use a vehicle to drive through a building. You can’t stop evil from doing evil.” “