- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2015

A small Texas school district has approved a measure allowing for the arming of some teachers.

Keene Independent School District board members heard from concerned parents Wednesday night before voting on the guardian program. The measure will allow a few staff members, selected by the district, to carry guns inside the district’s four campuses. The program is voluntary, and the guns used would be provided by the district, a local Fox News affiliate reported.

Superintendent Ricky Stephens was against the idea when he was hired three years ago, but multiple school shootings across the country have changed his views on arming teachers.

“If you’d asked me nine years ago, 10 years ago, whether I ever would’ve been for it, I would’ve said ‘no,’ ” Mr. Stephens said Monday, a local ABC News affiliate reported.

“That old mentality of ‘it can’t happen here’ has started to leave a lot of small towns,” he said.

“We’re going to do a minimum of 80 hours a year of training,” said Keene ISD Police Chief Tim Kosar. “We’ll do it at least quarterly, and three of four times [that] we train a year will be at a range.”

Chief Kosar said that for safety reasons, they’re not disclosing how many teachers or who will carry. The selected and trained staff will keep the guns on them at all times so kids won’t have access, ABC reported.

Keene ISD isn’t the first district in North Texas to approve such a measure. In 2013, Van ISD in Van Zandt County started arming some of its staff, followed by Argyle ISD in Denton County in 2014, ABC said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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