Teachers are already armed at one East Texas school district

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CARTHAGE, Texas (KTAL) — As the national debate heats up over whether teachers should be armed in classrooms, an East Texas school district has already implemented a program that does just that.  School leaders say they want to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Outside every Carthage Independent School District building, you will see a sign alerting visitors that staff may be armed inside.

“When I got into education, thinking about being armed or having to arm staff was the furthest from my imagination,” Superintendent Dr. Glenn Hambrick said. “I would never think that we would be at this place.”

Carthage ISD implemented its “Guardian” program in 2014. Hambrick says the Sandy Hook school shooting is what prompted the school district to take action.

“Even if you have an officer, which is also nice to have — they know who the officer is, but they don’t know who the guardians are. I think that’s what makes it the deterrent, is they really don’t know who it is that will confront them,” Hambrick said of a potential shooter.

All guardians go through extensive training at a facility that trains law enforcement officers across the country. “The main thing is that they would be able to confront an armed intruder and protect the kids.”

Every time there’s another school shooting, Hambrick says it serves as a reminder for staff members. “After this you see more people at the range and making sure that they’re where they need to be in their training,” Hambrick said, adding that the school district has a shooting range and training for staff members is ongoing.

Before the district approved the “Guardian” program, a survey was given to community members and staff — 85 percent approved arming teachers at Carthage schools.

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