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Keller ISD school board approves new policy that could authorize teachers, employees to carry weapons on campus

New Keller ISD policy could allow teachers to carry weapons on campus
New Keller ISD policy could allow teachers to carry weapons on campus 02:38

KELLER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas school district has decided to move forward with a controversial school security idea despite protests. 

Keller ISD has voted to change its policy so teachers and other school employees could be authorized to carry weapons. This will be the largest school district in North Texas to implement a guardian program. 

Proponents say it could offer two to three minutes of armed response before police arrive. Opponents say a district survey found that teachers overwhelmingly don't want the responsibility. 

There were armed police officers available to engage school shooters in both Uvalde, Texas and in Parkland, Florida but they failed to stop the carnage. 

That's one of the many arguments from those in Keller who say educators and school staff should not have to bear the burden of carrying arms to protect students. 

"I love all my teachers, but I see stories on the new sometimes of teachers having a bad day and taking it out on their students with a weapon in the mix," Central High School Senior Purnima Basistha said. "It just makes things really unpredictable."

The majority of Keller's school board is advocating the use of a state law to create volunteer armed guardians in schools. 

Proponents say they would add another layer of security to police officers who are already assigned to campuses in the event of an active shooter. 

"More than likely it's probably going to be 10 to 15 minutes before police arrive," Keller ISD School Board Member Micah Young said. "At what point do we put the opportunity into our favor?"

Teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, even janitors who undergo 50 hours of training could allowed to carry loaded guns with them to school campuses. 

There were voices coming from both sides about whether it's a good idea. 

"You all have a great responsibility to make sure our campuses are safe," one person at the meeting said. "Please do your job and approve this program."

"Save our kids, don't do this, it's putting them in danger," another person at the meeting said.

One board member against it is a retired teacher who pointed to a survey that found an overwhelming number of teachers were opposed to carrying firearms. 

"When you have 848 people that say no and you have 60 who say yes, I think that speaks loudly," said Board Member Ruthie Keyes.

The school board president countered that only a sample responded to that survey. 

"Does this mean that overwhelmingly our staff, or the community are opposed? I would argue it's inconclusive," Keller ISD School Board President Charles Randclev said.

Diane Ossenkop is a former Keller subsidiary teacher who says a school shooter with an assault rifle won't be stopped by someone like her with a handgun. 

"We need you to do more research than just the guardian program," Ossenkop said.

Opponents point out that teachers in Keller currently aren't allowed to even break up a student fight yet could soon be allowed to carry firearms. 

The decision gives the superintendent authorization to create a training program and implement it without further board action. 

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