East Texas school district says teachers won't be carrying guns
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -
Van and Union Grove ISD have decided to allow staff members to carry firearms on campus, but one district said it will not be joining them.
Longview ISD said they have no plans to allow anyone other than school resource officers and security to have guns on campus.
"A licensed peace officer goes to the range all the time; this person is trained to use a gun, this person is trained in situations where he might have to use a gun and negotiations. Who would you rather have protecting you, a police officer or a teacher when it comes to a situation like that? I would take the police officer," said Adam Holland, Director of Community Relations for Longview ISD.
Holland not only works for the district, but also has three children who attend Longview ISD schools.
"I have received calls from parents. In fact, I had one parent just this last week call. He was very concerned that Longview ISD was going to jump on that teachers carrying concealed handguns bandwagon. And again, that is not in the works here," Holland said.
He says the district invested in top notch security long before the Sandy Hook tragedy.
"Keep in mind that Longview ISD was rebuilt from top to bottom over the past several years because of the bond election and with that came millions of dollars in technology enhancements, which included security cameras. There's really nowhere to hide in Longview ISD," Holland said.
"Interestingly enough, the week of the shooting in Connecticut, one of our elementary schools conducted a shooter in the building drill the Monday of that week based on our recently updated plan," Holland explained.
The school that ran that drill is Ware Elementary School. Ware's principal, Sara Sheppard is also a parent of a student at that school.
KLTV asked Sheppard if, as a parent and a principal, she could confidently say the students at Ware Elementary are safe.
"Yes, I am very confident," Sheppard said.
The district has thousands of security cameras and a strict visitors policy.
At Ware Elementary School, the front doors to the school are unlocked, but those doors will only lead you to a foyer. Then, all other doors leading to the school are locked.
"You're not going anywhere, you are in the foyer and you're not going anywhere unless we buzz you in," Sheppard said.
Security investments they hope are enough.
"I worry like everyone else to a certain degree, but I also know that the people in charge here have done everything possible to ensure the safety of all of our children," Holland said.