Mineola ISD seeks feedback from parents on arming teachers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Mineola ISD seeks feedback from parents on arming teachers

MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) -

Tonight, dozens of parents gathered at the Mineola Middle School to discuss their concerns of student safety within the district.

The meeting was calm, but parents’ concerns were serious. In the last 18 months, Mineola Independent School District has worked with local law enforcement to make several safety changes to the school.

“We’ve made some changes to the entry way to the school, we’ve moved the nurse's station to a more secure location within the school,” school board president Dr. John Abbott said. “We found out that teachers had to go in the hall to lock their doors, so we changed the key.”

At the last school board meeting, they approved the hire of an on-campus armed police officer. Tonight, they were looking for parent concerns regarding the possibility of arming teachers throughout the district.   

“Will there be a vetting process to decide which teachers will be able to carry within the school district and will that vetting process not only include what one must go through to be licensed to carry a weapon, but will you also have your own vetting process?” one concerned parent asked.

“There will be a monthly training program, just because you have a CHL does not qualify you automatically,” school board member Jay McGough said. “You will go through constable Smith's training program and the chief and Dusty’s program and it will be a collaborative; everybody will sign off on it.”

Other parents were concerned with the general safety of students on campus.

“I’ve seen it day after day coming down here to the school is the outside security of the school,” a concerned parent said. “You can walk into any door on this campus all day long, and that worries me.”

Through an initial audit conducted with Mineola Police Department and Wood County Constable’s Office, that is a problem they say they have identified.

“I know here whenever school starts back up we will run an audit, Kelly or somebody that the students don’t know come up here and see how far they can get into the school without someone stopping them,” said another board member. 

The board says this will help them further identify the weak point within the district, to make the correct improvements.

Dr. Abbott says the decision to arm teachers has not been finalized, and they are open to more ways on how to further protect their students.

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