AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday, following the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde that left 19 students and 2 teachers dead, Texas leaders appeared on networks across the country.
Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who just won the Republican nomination in the primary runoff election the same Tuesday night, appeared on Fox News, stating the answer in preventing shootings like this could be arming teachers.
“We can’t stop bad people from doing bad things. We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly. That, in my opinion, is the best answer,” Paxton said, according to reporter Steve Herman.
He repeated a similar idea on Newsmax later that day.
In hearing the idea from Paxton, the Association of Professional Texas Educators’ Executive Director, Shannon Holmes, said it didn’t seem like Paxton was aware of existing law.
“It sounded to me like [Paxton] doesn’t realize that we already have a school marshal program and a school Guardian program on the on the books here in Texas, and there are many schools who are actively participating in those programs,” Holmes stated.
There are currently 62 school districts using trained school marshals and 256 active school marshals across the state. In this case, Uvalde’s school police officer was the first to engage the shooter.
Holmes said the thought of requiring teachers to be armed in the classroom only adds to existing pressure teachers face, especially while facing extra stress over the last two years due to the pandemic.
“Teachers don’t get into the profession to carry a firearm. And honestly, this is not really an education issue, right. This is a societal issue that is being acted out on our school campuses and targeting the most vulnerable people in our society, which are school children,” Holmes added.
He said he hopes lawmakers on both sides of the aisle come together to establish meaningful safety reforms going forward.
“These knee jerk, political quick fixes, have obviously not worked after past events. So I would hope that we would be able to have state leaders come together, leave politics at the door, and find a solution that will have some lasting impact on school safety as we move forward,” Holmes said.
Holmes also added he wants to honor the educators who lost their lives in the shooting Tuesday.
“These folks are the true definition of a hero. This should have been a week of celebration for Texas public schools, you know, as we wrap up yet another challenging school year. And it’s heartbreaking to hear the tragic events and at Robb Elementary, Uvalde and the lives that a lot have been lost in yet another school shooting. Your school should be a haven for safety and for learning. It’s a tragedy,” he said.