GATESVILLE — The Gatesville school board Monday chose to hold its fire on whether to allow school employees to carry concealed firearms on campus, opting to wait and see what action the Texas Legislature takes on guns in schools.
“I am afraid we might get a policy drafted and the Legislature will say, ‘No, you can’t do that,’” Superintendent Stewart Speer told the board.
Speer recommended the board table the gun policy proposal until the Legislature “can give us some guidance” and explore the option of hiring a city police officer to patrol school campuses.
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 re-evaluating campus security.
After a survey of Gatesville Independent School District employees showed overwhelming support for a policy to allow some employees to carry concealed guns at school, the board last month asked Speer for a gun policy to consider.
The Legislature is currently conducting hearings on how school districts might include concealed handguns in campus security.
Meanwhile, Speer said he will talk with Gatesville City Manager Roger Mumby about Gatesville ISD hiring a city police officer to patrol campuses from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days.
Speer said the district has considered hiring its own campus police officers, but “it is not practical for us to create our own police department.”
Speer said the district also is looking at ways to improve building security at Gatesville schools with vestibules, push-button entrances, new locking systems, video cameras and two-way speakers.
Since the Sandy Hook shooting, several handgun trainers in Central Texas have offered basic concealed-carry courses free to school employees.
At least one gun-training company, Texas Weapon Instructors of Gatesville, has seen a surge in school employees signing up for the course.