GATESVILLE — With state lawmakers aiming to address the issue of school security during the current legislative session, Gatesville Independent School District Superintendent Stewart Speer asked the board to hold its fire on a policy to allow school employees to carry concealed handguns on campuses.
Measures ranging from the creation of “school security districts” and “school marshals” to allowing superintendents and school board members to carry handguns at board meetings have gone into the legislative hopper in Austin.
In the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., school districts around the country have been reevaluating campus security.
A survey of Gatesville ISD employees showed overwhelming support for a policy to allow some district employees to carry concealed guns at school, and last month the board asked Speer for a policy proposal.
Speer this week asked the board to table discussion of a GISD gun policy until the Legislature “can give us some guidance.”
A state Senate measure proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing school districts to create school security districts and impose a new tax for crime prevention measures has been referred to the Finance Committee.
A state House bill that would create a new category of law enforcement officer – a “school marshal” – is awaiting committee referral.
A house proposal to permit superintendents and school board members to carry handguns at meetings has been referred to the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, along with several measures pertaining to concealed-carry of handguns on college campuses
While waiting to see what state lawmakers come up with, Speer said he will talk with Gatesville City Manager Roger Mumby about Gatesville ISD hiring a city police officer to patrol school campuses on school days from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Speer said the district is also looking at ways to improve building security at Gatesville schools with vestibules, push-button entrances, new locking systems, video cameras and two-way speakers.
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