Public schools across Texas may soon have the option to have an armed school marshal on campus.
The Texas Senate passed bill 1009 on Wednesday, allowing public school districts to have one armed marshal per 400 students. The marshals would carry a weapon and defend students and staff in the event of an attack.
"If that person can save lives, then that's something that's a possibility." said Chisum ISD Superintendent Diane Stegall.
The volunteer marshal would be a staff member who has completed training and who's identity would be kept confidential, but some school leaders are worried that if an event were to happen, the employee's life could be in danger as well.
"That’s a big responsibility for a teacher to carry gun." said North Lamar ISD Superintendent James Dawson. "They're going to have to know if it gets nasty around here you are going to have to step up and I don't know how many people are going to want to step up in a situation like that."
"To mistake one of our own employees who has a gun out for the person that is the shooter, that is a scary thought; we don’t want to put anyone that is on our staff in danger.” ” said Stegall
Three school district superintendents in the Paris area say they appreciate the government's efforts toward improving student safety, but prefer law enforcement handle weapons in an emergency situation.
"We're not sure the school is a place for guns, other than the people that are resource officers that we have, but we are going to look at it again." said Dawson.
Paris ISD Superintendent Paul Jones says they already plan on adding magnetic locks to all doors entering their schools.
"It's providing that extra security to parents and I think it's visible for them when they see that, their concern level goes down." said Jones
Chisum, North Lamar and Paris ISD's all plan to further address security this summer and consider their options.
The bill now goes to Governor Rick Perry for his consideration.