This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — More schools across Central Texas are opening their doors as summer comes to an end, but this year there is an extra emphasis on safety.
“Safety has been a huge priority for us,” said Thorndale ISD Superintendent Adam Ivy.
This year, the school district has added new remote locks to its exterior and classroom doors.
“The door locks automatically,” said Ivy.
The district has also added a new camera system to help them see what’s going on in and around the schools.
“It allows us to view things on our phones in a split second,” said Ivy.
When there is an emergency, seconds matter, which is why Thorndale relies on teachers to step in to respond, as well.
“We know, at the very best, we might not have response for five minutes to seven minutes and a lot can happen in that time,” said Ivy. “About four years ago, our board allowed us to implement a guardian program.”
The guardian program allows teachers on campus to arm themselves and train on how to respond in certain dangerous situations, like an active shooter.
“They are carefully selected,” said Ivy. “The board approves them and grants them that authority.”
The teachers go through multiple trainings each year with former and current law enforcement.
“We use the same strategy and techniques that law enforcement use,” said Ivy. “We train inside our buildings so we are familiar with the layout.”
While the district won’t say how many teachers are part of the program, they did say more teachers have joined the guardian program this year.
“Our guardian program is not the end all be all, it is not perfect, but we hope the training that we have done and the people that are willing to do this job can buy us time and save lives,” said Ivy.
Teachers have the option to join the program.
KXAN did ask if the guns are issued by the district or if the teachers own their own guns. Ivy says those details could not be released.