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Trinity ISD approves arming teachers and staff

Trinity, Texas (KETK) - Trinity ISD has decided to arm its staff after recently approving ordinances.

For the past year or so, Trinity ISD has been working to improve safety on school campuses by securing entries to buildings and making other smaller improvements.

"But then Santa Fe came and it kind of renewed our interests and our talks into saying we need to press farther, and that's how it came to the forefront again," said Dr. John Kaufman, Trinity ISD Superintendent.

The new measures approved by the school board include: a Trinity ISD police department consisting of three officers, one for each campus, and some faculty members, also at all three campuses, will be armed.

"Now as to the number of the staff that we arm and really the specifics," said Dr. Kaufman. "We're still in the process of determining what we want to do."

They have decided armed teachers/staff won't be chosen at random. Rather, the armed staff will be strategically placed around each campus.

Staff will also go through extensive training either through the Trinity County Sheriffs Office or some other outside organization.

The training won't be limited to just properly handing a firearm and shooting accurately. The staff will also undergo psychological training.

"Plus they're going to have to feel comfortable with a weapon," said Dr. Kaufman. "If they don't feel comfortable with a weapon then we're not going to ask them to carry one."

The district will also have more frequent drills so they can be prepared if the situation calls for it.

People around town share Dr. Kaufman's sentiment that it's unfortunate that such security measures are needed at all.

But, they say, it's just the world we live in.

"It's really sad that this is our world today that we have to be afraid to send our children to school," said Reena Rose, Trinity Resident. "But it is what it is and we have to be prepared."

For Rose, it's an easy choice to arm the staff.

"With the proper training and licensing I think that there should people that have something that can protect our children," she said. "It's just scary and you don't if it's going to happen or when it's going to happen and somebody needs to have a way to protect our kids."

Recently the school district had to deal with a threatening situation that thankfully turned out to be false.

But for Rose, a mother of two, just the possibility of a shooter was horrifying.

"That's the scariest thing a parent could ever imagine and, in some cases, if somebody had a gun they could stop it," she said.

But for others it's not so simple.

Some are on the fence about arming staff, seeing the pros and cons of the situation.

"That's just a hard question," said Rhonda Clemets, Trinity Resident. "We should on some of us and some of us should not carry, it just depends."

Dr. Kaufman wants to have their new security plans in place by September.

"I think it's going to provide a lot of comfort to not only our students but to our teachers and anyone we have visiting our campus," said Dr. Kaufman.


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