Select BISD staff to carry concealed handguns at school

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BONHAM, TX - Under a new security program, some Bonham ISD staff members will be carrying concealed handguns at school.

Bonham ISD's Superintendent tells News 12 his instructors are teachers, not a swat team--however under the district's Defender Program, a select, trained, and qualified few will be armed.

Bonham ISD Superintendent Dr. Marvin Beaty says more than 80 staff members have applied for the District's new Defender Program, to carry a concealed handgun at school.

"Of that group we will trim that down and there will be some actively in the program and we'll have some alternates as well," said Beaty.

Dr. Beaty says those who will carry a gun will be teachers, coaches, and administrators, "Nobody will know who they are but me and the campus principals. We'll know who they are."

He says the candidates will be thoroughly vetted, examined by a campus psychologist, and go through extensive training on the shooting range before they're selected.

Celia Cox says she supports the program, "I think all the teachers need to be armed, we have some people out there that don't seem to have any regard for human life."

Dr. Beaty also says each classroom, office, and school bus will have a safe, with a mace gun inside. He says he looked at other programs across the state, and spoke to Bonham's Police Chief while designing the Defender Program.

"To me it seems like the less guns involved would be better for everybody but I want those teachers protected and those children so you know you're confused about what really would be the best thing," said Jean Latimer.

Dr. Beaty says the program's start up cost is roughly $60,000 with about $15,00 in annual maintenance.

He says a few of the participants in the Defender Program are already trained, and by August 1st he expects the program will be up and fully operational.

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