South Florida shooting reinforces why Argyle ISD has armed staff, faculty

Argyle ISD officials said the deadly South Florida high school shooting reinforces why they have armed staff and faculty at all three of its campuses.

Since January 2014, Argyle ISD has trained and armed some of its personnel. The district opted to arm people in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

"It's just yet again, another reminder to us to keep this going, keep this going! We've got to make sure we keep our student safe,” Argyle ISD PD Chief Paul Cairney said on Thursday.

When the horrific events in South Florida began to unfold, Cairney was in a meeting on that very topic -- an active shooter on a school campus.

Argyle ISD hosted one of the largest active shooter training simulations in North Texas in summer 2016.

"We handpicked these people, we make sure they go through an extensive screening process. They go through a psychological evaluation and then I go through an intense training where they shoot over 900 rounds of ammunition and just a few days,” Cairney said.

Sarah Slaton, an Argyle ISD teacher and parent of three young children in the district, is comforted by having armed security inside the classrooms.

"If something were to happen, God forbid that they would be protected and that they would be defended when they are defenseless against something so horrific,” Slaton said.

Argyle officials said they intentionally have not stated how man staff and faculty have been armed.

"We never tell people exactly how many people we have trained or who they are, that's part of the genius I think of the program, is to keep the mystery there. So, nobody knows,” Cairney said.

Not the students, not the teachers, parents or other faculty – and they’re OK with that.

"I think it's great that as a student body that we don't know who's carrying weapons and who's not,” Toby Smith, high school senior.

Cairney knows there are critics of the district’s plan. He has a simple message for them.

"If you think of something better, let us know. We're willing to listen, but at the same time, the day of doing nothing is over,” Cairney said.