One school district has set an example for how students can be protected from mass shootings: their teachers have been armed and authorized for deadly force for over a year.
Not only has the measure made parents and students feel safer, no violent incidents have occurred, and no one has been accidentally shot from the presence from more guns in classrooms.
The school district, the Medina ISD, is located northwest of San Antonio, Texas. After the state passed a law allowing school districts to train and arm teachers, Medina was one of the first to step up.
Outside of the Medina school campus, where 300 Kindergarten through 12th grade students attend, this sign stands as a warning to anyone who has evil intent. So far, it has worked.
The Washington Post reported on the Medina ISD in this report from 2016, after the policy was set in place.
In full, the sign reads, “Attention, please be aware that the staff at Medina ISD may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”
The sign is new this school year and stands guard outside the Medina Independent School District, home to 300 kindergarten through 12th-grade students in a small, rural town about an hour northwest of San Antonio. The school isn’t under any particular threat, school board member James Lindstrom told CNN, and there have been no recent instances of violence worth noting.
The sign came about, he said, because of the “general environment nationally.”
Guns in schools — from pre-K classrooms to university lecture halls — has been just one in a long list of contentious topics that often arise during the national gun rights debate simmering across the country. After 20 children and six adults were fatally shot by a gunman armed with assault weapons at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, gun advocates, and even some government officials, claimed the massacre could have been prevented if the school personnel inside had been carrying guns.
A national movement to arm teachers followed.
Most recently, in the same state the Medina ISD calls home, lawmakers made it legal for teachers and students to carry concealed weapons in university classrooms, outraging some campus groups, particularly at the University of Texas at Austin, where students have launched several colorful protests over the past year. On the first day of classes in August, demonstrators carried around dildos of various shapes and colors for their “cocks not glocks” campaign.
Just this week, singer Ray LaMontagne canceled a concert on the UT-Austin campus over the campus-carry law.
In Medina, however, the school’s warning sign and potential gun-toting teachers haven’t seemed to unnerve many parents.
“Schools have been a target for, for lack of a better word, crazy people,” Jillian Sides, whose two sons attend the school, told ABC affiliate KSAT 12. “I’m perfectly fine with it.”
News station KENS 5 interviewed community members at the Medina high school football game and got a round of similarly enthusiastic endorsements:
“I think it’s great,” one woman said.
“I think it’s a good idea,” a man in a cowboy hat remarked. “I have no problem with our teachers being armed.”
“I thought, well it’s good that our kids can be protected,” a third woman said.
Genie Strickland, to KSAT 12, put it this way: “I think you’ve got to do whatever you’ve got to do.”
District Superintendent Penny White wouldn’t say whether or how many teachers were actually carrying firearms in the building. The sign indicates only that they “may” be armed.
“We don’t divulge anything about our safety plan, because it would compromise the plan,” White told KSAT 12.
Her hope, she told the TV station, is that potential bad guys might “think twice” before entering her school to harm someone. The school is rural and remote, she said, about 20 to 25 minutes away from the nearest law enforcement agency in Bandera — the county seat and “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
“You never know if there’s a transient or someone who has zeroed in on harming a child,” White told KSAT 12.
The board of trustees decided to erect the sign after a year of discussion, the superintendent said.
Here is video from Fox News about the armed teachers in the Medina ISD.