WHITEHOUSE Texas (KLTV) - During Monday night’s special called meeting, the Whitehouse ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to allow authorized WISD personnel to carry concealed guns while on campus.
At the meeting, the school board addressed school safety before it voted to approve the Guardian Plan.
“WISD believes everyone has the right to a safe and caring environment,” a press release stated. “The Guardian Plan will ensure an effective and timely response to emergency situations.”
The press release stated that there are more than 1,000 school districts in Texas, and more than 30 percent of those currently authorize employees to carry a firearm, according to a 2018 survey by the Texas Association of School Boards.
"We love our students and staff and their safety is most important to us. Whitehouse ISD provides an outstanding environment in which to learn.,” Dr. Christopher Moran, WISD’s superintendent, said in the press release. “We will do whatever is necessary to protect that freedom for our community.”
According to the press release, only those employees approved by the WISD school board will be allowed to participate in the Guardian Plan, which will be in place for the 2020-2021 school year.
Each employee who is selected will be required to complete 80 hours of training, and 56 of those training hours will be before they are allowed to carry a concealed firearm, the press release. Participants will also be required to pass physical and psychological exams.
“About a third of the districts in the state of Texas are engaged in some type of security through arming staff,” said Moran. “We’re not eager to do this and we’re not interested in kind of a maverick program. This is really just to address how we would respond in the event of an active shooter, until law enforcement arrived.”
The identities of the WISD employees who participate in the Guardian Plan will be confidential. Also, the Guardian Plan will be supported via training with local law enforcement and experts in the fields of safety and security.
“The Board wants to thank the administration for evaluating and considering various options relating to school safety,” Greg Hood, the WISD board president said in the press release. “Providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff is of the utmost importance to our community. Our goal is to put controls in place to prevent and respond to all possible threats of harm and danger on our campuses.”
Hood added that the Guardian Plan is “another proactive step in our approach to providing a safe learning environment.”
Other East Texas school districts that have allowed certain approved employees to carry concealed weapons on their campuses include Cayuga ISD, Huntington ISD, Westwood ISD, Union Grove ISD, and Van ISD.
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