Texas passes bill to train teachers as armed ‘school marshals’
The Texas Legislature on Thursday sent a bill to Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) desk that could mean some teachers will be trained as marshals and sent into classrooms with guns.
State Rep. Jason Villalba (R) told KRIV that the bill was created in response to last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
“We’ve created a new class of law enforcement officers here in Texas to protect our kids in a moment of crisis,” the lawmaker noted.
Villalba promised that teachers would have “80 hours of training, deep psychological profiles, training in areas of firearms, legal and emergency situations and we are going to make sure they can protect our kids in that moment.”
The measure would require all firearms to be locked up “within immediate reach” while in the classroom.
But Houston Federation of Teachers President Gale Fallon, who is a gun owner, explained to KRIV that her group was opposed to anyone having a weapon on school grounds “unless it’s a commissioned police officer.”
“Our classrooms aren’t set up where there is a secure place to keep a weapon so if that teacher is teaching where is the gun?” she pointed out.
Law enforcement officials also warned lawmakers that teachers with guns were at risk of being shot by police responding to emergencies at schools.
The Protection of Texas Children Act passed the state Senate with a bipartisan vote of 28 to 3 on Wednesday, sending it to Perry’s desk to be signed into law.
Watch this video from KRIV, broadcast May 23, 2013.