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Keller ISD trustees approve policy that will allow teachers, staff to carry guns on school campuses

Keller ISD approved a policy that will implement the state's "guardian program" on school campuses, allowing certain staff to carry guns.

KELLER, Texas — The Keller ISD school board approved a policy on Monday that will allow teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms on school campuses.

In a 4-3 vote, the school board voted to approve the state's "guardian" program, which is utilized by hundreds of districts. It allows the school board to authorize certified employees to carry guns on campus. 

Staff who become "guardians" would do so on a voluntary basis and would have to complete firearm trainings and meet other requirements. 

District leaders will be able to remove an employee’s authorization to carry at any point.

Several school board members who voted in support of the policy said it’s a way of keeping children safe in the event of an active shooter on campus.

"The guardian program is meant to help students and staff from an active shooter prior to law enforcements arrival," said board president Dr. Charles Randklev.

The school district sent out a survey to gather input on the policy from parents, teachers and other members of the community.

School board trustee Ruthie Keyes said that a majority of survey results from parents and teachers said they opposed having a guardian program. According to Keyes, 1,181 people responded to the survey and 580 of that total came from faculty members.

"When you have 848 [responses] who say no and 60 that say yes, I think that speaks loudly," Keyes said.

Randklev argued the responses received were an insufficient amount, and that the results were inconclusive.

School board trustee Micah Young said the goal of the policy is to achieve a faster response time in the event of an active shooter.

"How do you not give someone the opportunity to protect your kids in the heat of the moment?" Young said.

During the public speaking section of the meeting on Monday, dozens of parents, current students and former teachers shared their thoughts on the policy.

Amber Fox, a parent, said she fully supports having a guardian program.

"I would rather my kids' teacher have a handgun than nothing," Fox said. "The horror of Uvalde that kids were sitting in a classroom as a monster came in to shoot them…"

Another parent, Dixie Davis, said her children were set to attend Keller ISD, but she opposes having a guardian program.

"I do not want this program, period," Davis said. "There is no way I would feel safe sending my kid to school knowing a teacher is packing, no matter how well-trained. Why haven’t we seen details about how this program works?"

Superintendent Dr. Rick Westfall said a specific plan for the district's implementation of the guardian program is not in place yet. Westfall said the board likely wouldn’t build the framework around a plan until January or February of 2023.

"I don’t want to approve a policy until I know what I’m approving," said trustee Beverly Dixon. "I want the specifications, and we don’t have that yet."

Santiago Salazar, a senior at Keller Central High School said he doesn’t want his teachers to have guns on campus.

"Is that really the best course of action? What happens when one of these educators makes a mistake?" Salazar said.

The board ultimately passed the policy with an amendment to remove all mentions of contractors within it.

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