MOODY — Six members of the faculty and staff of Tarver Elementary School in Belton were in class Saturday to qualify for their Texas concealed handgun license.
After the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults, Adam Fitzer, owner of Texas Weapon Instructors of Gatesville, offered his basic 10-hour CHL course free to employees of any Texas school district.
Applicants to his classes have quadrupled, Fitzer said, as employees of several Central Texas school districts have rushed to sign up.
“We are booked up through March,” Fitzer said.
Fitzer has added class material geared toward a school environment, including defensive tactics that do not involve firearms.
Jonesboro Independent School District adopted a policy to allow select employees to carry concealed handguns at school.
Gatesville ISD will consider such a policy later this month.
Although Belton ISD is not one of the Texas school districts to take the step toward allowing armed teachers and staff on campus, Tarver Principal Lois Knox said the training could help teachers feel better prepared for a classroom emergency.
“If you are going to carry (a handgun), you have the responsibility to do it right,” said Knox, who previously held a concealed handgun license but let it expire.
She learned of the free training online and talked to colleagues about it. Her secretary, Terry Haas, volunteered her family’s Moody farm with private shooting range for the session.
Joining Knox and Haas for the Saturday class were Assistant Principal Roxanne Sanders and teachers Heather Ward, Samantha Brown and Ryan Maher.
Fitzer and TWI instructor Kevin Grieve used a shop building on the Haas farm as a temporary classroom for the training.
Legal requirements and restrictions, gun safety, defensive tactics and the use of deadly force were taught with the use of lectures, slides, videos and hands-on practice.
The course concluded at the firing range where each member of the class had to demonstrate proficiency with a pistol to qualify for the concealed handgun license.
“It was fun because we all passed,” Knox said. She said the course compared favorably with her previous CHL training.
“I need a lot of practice,” said Brown, a third-grade teacher. “I will shoot when I can afford to.”