Districts remain committed to safety plans following Van inciden - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Districts remain committed to safety plans following Van incident


Several East Texas school districts spoke out on Friday about the accidental shooting at Van ISD that occurred on Wednesday afternoon. The incident made national news, continuing the debate over whether or not school districts should arm employees on campus.

"Accidents happen. When they happen with guns, it rarely turns out well," says Longview ISD information officer Adam Holland.

Longview ISD remains committed to handling their own security without armed teachers or employees.

"Longview ISD's position from the get-go was we're going to handle security without teachers toting guns," Holland says.

Union Grove ISD is one district that has voted to train and arm selected teachers and employees.

"We've already begun the process of training our people here we take it very seriously," says Union Grove ISD superintendent Brian Gray.

The shooting incident in Van has reinforced Longview ISD's position.

"Regardless of the rarity of such incidents as what occurred in Van, do we really want to go out on this limb? Rare means it still can happen. We have SRO's at a number of our campuses and we do have security measures in place," Holland says.

But Union Grove says an accident shouldn't cloud the issue of student safety.

"Obviously it was an accident, I don't know the details. With this single accident I don't think it changes our perspective as a school district from Union Grove's perspective we think we've got training and the safety precautions in place," Gray says.

"Someone who is charged with the security of hundreds of our children should be more that just someone licensed to carry a concealed handgun. I would much rather have a professional teacher in classroom than I would someone who's trained on how to use weapons," says Holland.

"Accidents happen with school buses, we still need to keep our kids safe," Gray says.

Both districts stick by their choices. Two other East Texas school districts - Westwood and Cayuga - have a guardian plan similar to Van ISD.  Harmony ISD is considering a similar plan.

Van ISD again declined to comment on camera about the incident.

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