The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prompted debate across the country on whether schools should allow employees to carry handguns. Meanwhile, New Deal Independent School District implemented this regulation five years ago.
“New Deal, including all schools around, practice safety all the time. There is not one moment in time that causes a community and school to consider arming themselves,” said New Deal ISD Superintendent Jimmy Noland.
New Deal staff attend both psychological and weapon training by local law enforcement before they can carry weapons on school campuses, he said.
While state and federal government officials are attempting to make decisions concerning the issue, “the government has no place telling teachers or staff what they should do in this particular security scenario,” Noland added.
Administrative staff, parents and the community know what is best for their kids, he said, and it varies between districts.
“There are some schools that could actually make it worse,” he said.
In addition to guns, he believes there are steps schools can continually take to improve safety.
“There are always new ideas and tweaks: anything from a locker, closed door, to open communication,” Noland said.
Staff in the school district also use a phone app that has a shooter alert button. When pressed by any staff member, it sends the school into lockdown, immediately notifying the police.