Which do you prefer, School Marshal or Teacher with LTC in the classroom?
Both of my daughters attended high school where the local police department provided School Resource Officers instead of Teachers with LTC and guns in the classroom. As an LTC Instructor, my preference is to arm the teacher who volunteers to carry a firearm in the classroom. Why? It’s simple for me to understand that the bad guy can figure out where the school resource office is to time the attack. While the identity and therefore whereabouts of the school marshal would be secret, a school marshal program has the disadvantage of time for the school marshal to become aware of a problem, make way to where the firearm is stored, retrieve the firearm and then to navigate to the location where the bad guy has gone to attack and attempt to neutralize the attacker. Whereas multiple teachers with guns in the classroom provide timelier, actionable defense of our students, at the location where the defense has the most effectiveness and provides multiple defenders at the earliest onset of the attack.
The school marshal and resource officer approaches are, in my mind, seek and respond approaches that include stepping over the wounded to find and neutralize an attacker. And what about responding to a barricaded attacker in the classroom with the unarmed teacher and students? The Teacher with a handgun approach is one that embeds actionable defense to deny access or entry into the classroom, protects from within the classroom, aides in exit if possible and assists law enforcement once they arrive.
Not every teacher has to be armed. But if one, two or three in every wing of the campus is armed, how much more protection or even deterrence is afforded to that campus and the students who attend? Training our teachers, or even just a few, to be defenders from within is affordable and effective. Here are the elements of each program:
School Marshals (TX Education Code 37.0811)
HB 1009, passed by the 83rd legislature, allows public school districts and open enrollment charter schools to appoint School Marshals. The 84th legislature passed SB 386 to include Public two-year junior colleges in the list of institutions that can appoint School Marshals. The 85th legislature passed HB 867, which allows private schools to appoint School Marshals.
The sole purpose of a School Marshal is to prevent the act of murder or serious bodily injury on school premises, and act only as defined by the written regulations adopted by the School Board/Governing Body.
After making application with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, a qualifying institution must send the candidate to an 80-hour training course, conducted by a law enforcement academy that has been specifically prepared to provide the school marshal curriculum. Among the topics covered in the School Marshal course are: physical security, improving the security of the campus, use of force, active shooter response, and weapon proficiency. No other course can be substituted or exempt an individual from the specific school marshal training course.
Appointing Entity Information
The Appointing Entity will be the School Board/Governing Body of a Public School, Open Enrollment Charter School, or a Public two Year Junior College.
Process to appoint a school marshal:
- Appointing Entity must submit the completed Appointing Entity Number Application to TCOLE. This form designates all authorized signatures on forms and paperwork to follow. (Provided upon request).
- Appointing Entity selects candidate(s) for School Marshal.
– Candidate(s) must be an employee(s) of the school or college.
– Candidate(s) must hold a valid License to Carry, issued through the Texas Department of Public Safety. (Copy submitted to TCOLE).
– Candidate(s) must pass a psychological exam (TCOLE will provide this form).
– Candidate(s) attends/completes TCOLE approved 80-hour School Marshal course.
- Appointing Entity submits School Marshal Appointment Form and Fee. Once approved, a School Marshal license will issue to the candidate(s). He or she will be authorized to act as a School Marshal, per the written regulations adopted by the School Board/Governing Body.
School Safety Training TX Govt Code 411.1901
(Note: The code below defines both the requirements of an Instructor and what the instructor is to teach to teachers and others in a school safety training course (paragraph (a) 1 – 4)
Sec. 411.1901. SCHOOL SAFETY CERTIFICATION FOR QUALIFIED HANDGUN INSTRUCTORS. (a) The department shall establish a process to enable qualified handgun instructors certified under Section 411.190 to obtain an additional certification in school safety. The process must include a school safety certification course that provides training in the following:
School Safety Training TX Govt Code 411.1901 (cont.)
(1) the protection of students;
(2) interaction of license holders with first responders;
(3) tactics for denying an intruder entry into a classroom or school facility; and
(4) methods for increasing a license holders accuracy with a handgun while under duress.
(b) The school safety certification course under Subsection (a) must include not less than 15 hours and not more than 20 hours of instruction.
Text of subsection effective until January 01, 2016
(c) A qualified handgun instructor certified in school safety under this section may provide school safety training, including instruction in the subjects listed under Subsection (a), to employees of a school district or an open-enrollment charter school who hold a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under this subchapter.
Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 498 (S.B. 1857), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.