Former Haltom City mayor thinks teachers should be armed

Posted Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Former Haltom City Mayor Jack Lewis, a member of the Birdville school district's bond committee that is considering security improvements, wants teachers in the district to carry their concealed weapons on campus.

Lewis said that he has "complete confidence" in the ability of teachers to handle a situation where a gunman enters the classroom.

Speaking for himself and not for the committee, Lewis added that while the proposed bond package will likely include safety and security improvements, the district is "going about it in the wrong way."

"Our police departments already have their hands full," Lewis said. "I don't see spending thousands on arming police officers when teachers are already in the classroom. ... I asked the board to publicly approve allowing our teachers to voluntarily carry in the workplace if they have a concealed handgun license."

Mark Thomas, a spokesman for the Birdville schools, said it is against board policy to allow weapons on campus. There are too many legal ramifications to consider, he added.

"This is not under immediate consideration," Thomas said.

School Board President Ralph Kunkel said that allowing teachers to have concealed weapons is a hot issue, but that he doesn't think the board will discuss the issue in the near future. Kunkel said he is not a gun owner, and would have to learn about the requirements for having a concealed handgun license.

"Whatever we wind up doing, we don't want prisons or fortresses on our campuses. We want our kids to feel safe," he said.

Trustees have until the end of February to decide whether to call a bond election in May.

Discussions on whether to allow teachers to carry guns on campus have occurred at several north Texas districts including Arlington and Cleburne. No district has approved allowing teachers to have concealed weapons in the classroom.

The Legislature is looking at several options including state-funded training for teachers who already have a concealed handgun license, paying for more security measures and even allowing concealed handgun license holders to carry in college and university buildings.

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696

Twitter: @fwstliz

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