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Texas school district votes to arm schoolteachers

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

In one Texas town, school safety now means armed teachers.

In Keene, Texas, the Keene Independent School District Board of Education voted 6-1 in favor to let teachers have guns on campus, according to NBCDFW.

“A ‘very select few’ teachers who are identified as candidates by campus principals, Keene Police Department and the Keene ISD Superintendent will be invited to volunteer,” Stefan Gorman wrote.

The policy will require the necessary training for a concealed handgun license in Texas, and then 80 more hours each year “to maintain readiness,” presumably to make teachers more effective and to maintain high safety standards.

Some groups, such as the National School Safety and Security Services, a safety consulting firm, advises against arming teachers and staff. Pew Research polls have also found 57 percent percent of people oppose arming teachers and school officials, though 56 percent of Republicans are in favor of the initiative.

That hasn’t stopped schools in Indiana, Colorado, and Oklahoma from considering the policy or making it official. A charter school in Oregon considered adopting a policy similar to Keene, but will no longer pursue it.

Unlike the debate over guns on college campuses, where arguments turn toward constitutional rights and self-defense, the argument for guns in classrooms has focused on safety.

In Indiana, for instance, “Our main concern is, are we providing as safe an environment as we can for our children,” board member Doug Coffman said when explaining the push to arm teachers.

The policy has become more popular in recent years. No state, prior to 2013, had specific laws about teachers carrying guns, according to The Council of State Governments Justice Center. By the end of 2013, more than 80 bills were introduced and eight states passed laws to allow teachers to arm themselves on campus in certain situations.

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