Is the Harrold public school board in Texas on to something? Will its decision to allow public school teachers to carry guns to work spark a nationwide trend? In a front-page article today, The New York Times reports that the school board’s decision has drawn nationwide attention, “rattled some people and sparked fiery debate.” The school district’s superintendent, David Thweatt, told the newspaper that the policy of allowing teachers to pack heat was based on real threats and the fact that the sheriff’s department is 17 miles away from the school district. “I’m not exactly paranoid,” said Thweatt. “I like to consider myself prepared.” He also said that many of the district’s teachers had received 40 hours of weapon training from a private group he would not identify.
Some are questioning the legality of the policy. Although Texas bars guns on public school property, its laws provide an exception for school boards to allow people to carry concealed weapons on the property. But the gun laws, as the Times notes, specify that those allowed to carry the arms must be “commissioned peace officers.” Brian Siebel, a lawyer with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, tagged the Harrold school board’s policy as “unwise” and potentially an “illegal one.”