Union Grove ISD to have armed staff - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Union Grove ISD to have armed staff

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UNION GROVE, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas school district has become the second in the state to allow select, licensed and trained teachers to possess a firearm on campus. Union Grove ISD school board has approved a resolution to allow firearms on campus in the possession of select employees.

They join Harrold ISD, a small district North of Wichita Falls, as the only other district in Texas to have such a policy. Parents and school officials have offered overwhelming support. Union Grove ISD's decision was not made lightly, they say.

"If somebody came into our school meaning to do harm to our kiddos, would you want somebody up here to stop that as quickly as possible? Overwhelmingly, the answer was yes. Unfortunately, it's the world we're living in, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Amish schoolhouse so we want to be proactive," said Union Grove superintendent Brian Gray.

The policy states only those school employees who have obtained and then maintain a current license to carry a concealed handgun, in accordance with state law, are eligible to be selected.

"We're talking about in-depth training, whether that be with licensed contractors, security or law enforcement. Having armed staff members throughout the district in case of emergency," Gray says.

The goal is to have someone ready while waiting for law enforcement, and be the first line of defense.

"We may have a deputy two minutes away, but likelihood maybe 15 minutes away," Gray says.

Parents don't think this is over-reacting.

"I think it's a great idea. I think they all need to carry, I'm a license carrier myself and that's one way to protect our kids," says parent Mindy Borden.

"We're in a small community; here, the likelihood of something like that happening here is probably a rare occurrence, but those other schools probably thought the same thing also. If something were to happen, you'd want to stop it before a shot ever gets fired," says Brian Mayhan, the father of three Union Grove students.

The select teachers will not be disclosed. The Union Grove school board is considering allocating $10,000 a year in its budget to pay for training. Officials say they will implement the policy over the next few months.

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