FORT WORTH The first seven school marshals in Texas armed employees in the classroom, ready to respond to an active shooter situation are being trained in Fort Worth at Tarrant County College's Northwest campus.

The new class of law enforcement officer was created by a new state law, the Protection of Texas Children Act, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas. It allows any eligible full-time school employees, from the superintendent to the math teacher, to perform the duties of a school marshal.

The marshals receive training that includes tactical firearms experience, strategy, prevention and response, Rafael Perea, an instructor at the police academy at TCC, said Monday.

The districts and the names of the seven employees enrolled in the 80-hour program were not released.

'These guys are anonymous and it is all confidential,'' Perea said. 'If you want to take the concept of an air marshal inside an airplane, this is a school marshal inside of a school. It is to provide that extra layer of defense for our children.''

To be eligible, a school employee must hold a concealed handgun permit, pass a psychological exam and adhere to the requirements of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The employee then must undergo the training session and take ongoing continuing education.

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