LUBBOCK, Texas — Rise Academy is a small charter school located in East Lubbock, but they have a new big sign to make sure everyone knows they will do whatever it takes to keep their students safe.
The sign reads “Warning, school staff may be armed & will use whatever force necessary to protect our students.”
Local districts in the Lubbock area have recently armed their staff. However, Rise Academy has been doing that for years.
Richard Baumgartner, the founder and director of Rise, said past events led to him getting certified to carry on campus with a program called the Guardian plan.
“In the spring of 2011, we did have a hostage situation here at Rise Academy after that experience,” Baumgartner said. “I just felt like. I didn’t want to ever have to go into something else like that again with just my bare hands, essentially.”
The Guardian plan was established in 2009 to allow staff members to carry as well as respond in active shooter situations. Jeff Sellers, the founder of the Guardian program said there are 230 Texas districts that have taken advantage of his program. They have trained 2,200 staff members to carry while on the job.
Latoya Jackson is the director of operations at Rise but was a teacher at the time of the hostage event and says having him carry could be what could save lives.
“I was really glad when I found out that Mr. Baumgartner will be carrying here on campus to kind of help us stay safe,” Jackson said. “You know, immediately until someone gets there, we have to have some type of deterrent that lets others know not to bring it here.”
Baumgartner and Jackson said they are working on a plan that will allow teachers to carry if they feel comfortable with those responsibilities.