Students and Parents,
Schools across the country are being forced to prepare for the unthinkable – the potential of a mass school shooting. The news is full of incidents like Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe High School and the recent terrible attack in El Paso. In fact, there have been more than 250 mass shootings in the United States since 2006. Schools, as “gun free zones,” have too often been seen as “free fire zones” by troubled individuals. Would-be shooters knew that they would have no one firing back while they pursued their goal of killing innocent and helpless students and staff.
The Dell City ISD school board has been watching the devastation and, in fall 2018, began considering appropriate policies to improve school safety. Ultimately, the board changed local policy and created a group that we will call “school guardians.” These individuals will have the right to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds.
The guardians will be staff members who meet each of the following requirements:
1. Have been personally selected by school administrators.
2. Possess a Concealed Handgun License (CHL).
3. Have passed a psychological exam just like local law enforcement.
4. Qualify annually with the specific handgun they will carry. This means qualifying on the gun range through a process which is under the control of the sheriff’s department.
5. Have completed joint training with local law enforcement.
6. Are subject to random drug testing and pass all tests.
7. Have completed training in tactics for denying an intruder entry into a classroom or facility.
8. Have been approved by the school board.
The people who make it through the training and gain final approval are volunteers. In order to protect them from becoming targets of an intruder, their names are confidential and are not to be released. I ask that names not be guessed at or rumored over, to help protect these individuals.
Signs will be posted on our campus which say, “Attention: Please be aware that the staff of Dell City ISD may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.” These signs are important, not as chest-thumping, but as a warning that shooters should pick some other target. Our campus will not be a “free fire zone” where bad actors can play out horrible video games in real life without being challenged.
So – may you carry a concealed handgun or even open carry? No. No student, parent or staff member who is not a guardian will be allowed to carry. Only those who have gone through the extensive training and met all requirements will be allowed to carry. Please continue to be aware that any gun rumored to be on campus or seen on campus should be reported immediately.
The decision to move forward with this policy came only after much school board consideration, consultation with local enforcement personnel and emergency responders, involvement of a committee of district staff and consultation with attorneys and other school districts. Signs will go up and the program will be in full force this school year.
Dell City ISD
Aug. 20, 2019