Potential federal funding for armed teachers could affect rural - FOX34 Lubbock

Potential federal funding for armed teachers could affect rural districts

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering using money from the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants to pay for "School Marshal" programs. These arm specifically trained educators and administrators.

The grants intended to improve students' academic achievement, but the program does not prohibit districts from spending funds on firearms.

At Roosevelt ISD, arming staff is not a new concept, but using federal grants to do so, is. 

"I'll support any money going towards school safety," Roosevelt Superintendent Dallas Grimes said.

Grimes believes it should be up to the district on how to use grant funds. 

"In Texas, I think it's going to come down to a local decision, and really in Lubbock County, you can say it's a local decision," Grimes said."Some of the schools in town have opted to use other forms of security."

After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, Roosevelt ISD put into place a policy allowing a select number of staff to carry. Grimes said the district provides the training, which is happening more frequently.

"With my predecessor and during my tenure here, it's been nothing but overwhelmingly supportive," Grimes said. 

Lubbock State Senator Charles Perry agreed it is up to the district. 

"It's better to have that person that can fight back than to have that person at the mercy of the person with a gun," Perry said.

Perry said it makes sense rural districts are leading the way in arming teachers since they are typically father away from law enforcement. 

"That sheriff may be 40-50 miles away from school," Perry said. "So the first responder just doesn't exist in those rural communities so it only makes sense for those guys to do it if they chose to do it as a community."

With or without federal funding, Roosevelt ISD will continue the policy. 

"We're far better prepared to minimize that day, and the results of what they're trying to do," Grimes said. "But again, we're here to teach kids, we by no means wanna play that role but if we have to, I feel like we have people in our district that will step up immediately."

New Deal ISD has a similar policy. The superintendent Jimmy Noland told us if the grant becomes available, it would be up to the community to make the call on whether to use those funds for weapons. 

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