Schools across the country are being forced to prepare for the unthinkable – the potential of a mass school shooting. The news is full of incidents like Columbine, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and so on. Schools, as “Gun Free Zones,” have been seen as “free fire zones” by troubled individuals. They knew that they would have no one firing back at them while they completed their goal of killing innocent and helpless students and staff.
The Lone Oak ISD school board witnessed the devastation and considered appropriate policies. The Board updated local policy, authorizing a School Safety “Defender” Program (TX Govt. Code 411.1901). Its purpose is to provide students, faculty and staff with an armed self-defense option prior to the arrival of law enforcement in the event of an active shooter or "active killer" on campus. They have the right to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds.
The Defenders are ISD staff members who have passed each of the following requirements (and more):
- Hand selected staff members.
- Must have their Concealed Handgun License (CHL) / License to Carry (LTC).
- Must pass bi-annual psychological exam with a 3 or higher and commit to annual School Safety Training.
- Must qualify annually with the specific handgun and level 3 (or above) holster they will carry.
- Must pass an annual and random drug test and an annual physical.
- Must be trained in tactics for denying an intruder entry into a classroom or facility.
- Must be approved by the school board annual
The staff who make it through the training and gain final approval are volunteers. In order to protect them from becoming targets of an intruder, their names are confidential and are not to be released. Names should not be guessed at nor rumors passed in an attempt to protect these individuals.
Signs will be posted on our campuses which state, “ATTENTION: LOISD STAFF ARE ARMED AND TRAINED TO PROTECT OUR STUDENTS.” By providing the community with this information and by placing signs up across the campuses, we are taking additional steps so that people know we are NOT an “easy target”. No students, parents nor most staff will be allowed to carry. Only those who have gone through the extensive training and met all the requirements will be allowed to carry. Please continue to be aware that any gun rumored to be on campus or seen on campus should be reported immediately.
Questions about the Defender program can be sent to Lone Oak ISD Chief of Police, Casey Northcutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.