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3 Brown County school districts have programs that arm teachers

The Early Independent School District's Board of Trustees adopted a plan last fall to arm a few of their employees with handguns.

Early High School Principal Robert Weyman said the plan is a way to protect their kids, teachers and campus from would-be shooters.

"It's sad to say, but I do think it's a new reality," Weyman said. He spoke to his high school students before class started Thursday morning and gave them a rundown of Early ISD's safety protocols.

Early ISD isn't alone in arming some of its staff members. A few miles away, Brookesmith and Bangs ISDs both allow some educators with proper gun training to conceal carry.

"The preparations that we make happened during closed session in our school board," Bangs ISD Superintendent Tony Truelove said. "I cannot deny or confirm how many we do have, or who we do have, carrying guns."

Truelove said the district has students go through lockdown drills and they are taught what actions need to be taken during an active shooter situation.

Truelove, as well as other school officials from Bangs ISD, find arming some staffers more cost effective than employing a school resource officer. Truelove said they are a small, rural school district with a tight budget and law enforcement isn’t anywhere close to their campuses.

"It's like tornado drills and fire drills. Seldom does it ever hit your campus, but you have to be prepared when it does," Truelove said.

Early ISD is calling their policy the "Guardian Program" and Board President Shawn Russell said they've been fine-tuning it for the last nine months.

While training for the program should begin in the next few weeks, employees who are participating in the program will go through extensive drills, according to Russell. The school hopes to fully implement the "Guardian Program" by the fall.

"Parents deliver their kids to us in the morning and they expect to see them in the afternoon," Weyman said.

Weyman said Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida kept him up all night as he always has had the safety of his students on his mind.

For the Bangs, Brookesmith and Early ISDs, the only people who know which educators are armed are the superintendents and school board members.

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