It’s the first day of school for Granbury ISD students. Students are feeling the heat, but school staff are packing it.
Signs posted around schools in Granbury ISD are letting people know that staff members may be armed.
Granbury, which is southwest of Fort Worth, joins a growing list of Texas school districts allowing staff to carry firearms.
Some parents knew about the change going into the school year. Others are just learning about it and are expressing some concerns but still say they support the policy if it keeps students stay safe.
First day of school jitters aren’t just for students. Parents are anxious about sending their children back to school for a variety of reasons, including school safety in the wake of several mass shootings.
“We kind of want to set the tone that our school districts are not soft targets,” said Granbury ISD Superintendent Jeremy Glenn.
Granbury ISD is joining about a third of Texas school districts choosing to arm some teachers and staff, including Argyle and Keen ISD.
Argyle ISD has had armed staff and faculty at all three campuses since 2014. In 2016, it hosted one of the largest active shooter simulations in North Texas.
New signs outside Granbury ISD’s 10 campuses warn visitors that staff members “may be armed and will use whatever force necessary to protect our students and staff.”
“We’ve had people on both sides of the fence,” Glenn said. “But at the end of the day, I think our trustees made a local decision to do whatever we could to make sure our students and staff are protected.”
Granbury ISD trustees adopted the policy unanimously after the Santa Fe shooting in May 2018. But the superintend says it took a year to strategically implement a marshal program and hire a director of safety and security. He points out not every trained marshal will be allowed to carry a gun on their person.
“It’s against Texas education code 37.0811 for teachers to actually interact with students and carry at the same time,” Glenn said. “So for the most part, you see firearms locked away.”
That and the 80 hours of training are giving parents a greater level of comfort to introducing guns to the classroom.
“As long as they are put in a safe spot where kids can’t get to them,” said parent Ashley Antley.
“I’m a law enforcement officer, so I actually like the proactivity of it,” said parent Josh Lane. “We can’t be there always at the time things are going on. So as long as they are property trained, I’m perfectly fine with that.”