Concerns for the safety of children and staff prompted Van Independent School District to become the second district in East Texas to allow some employees to carry firearms on campus.
In a phone interview, Dunn said the number of employees and the identity of employees carrying would not be revealed for security reasons.
“This is something we have been thinking about for a long time. We have had security procedures in place for quite some time, but the shootings in Connecticut were the last straw to break the barrier when little kids became the target,” he said.
Dunn said the district has one school resource officer currently stationed at the high school campus, but because the district is spread out, a situation at another campus could be problematic with help being minutes away.
“From the time an intruder was to walk on say our junior high campus, it would take our resource officer about five minutes to get there from the high school. What we hoped to do with this policy is to cut that five-minute window out,” he said.
Dunn said people chosen to carry weapons will undergo “rigorous” training with law enforcement on how and when to use force.
“The safety and security of our kids and our staff are of the utmost concern for us and we hope this helps us address some of the issues that every district in Texas faces,” he said.
Dunn said the new policy does not allow citizens to carry firearms on campuses or at events, even if they have a concealed handgun license.