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Superintendent Defends Teacher Concealed Carry Policy

Harrold ISD is 30 minutes from the nearest first responders: the Wilbarger County Sheriff's Office.  Superintendent David Thweatt says the rural district needs to be its own first responder if an act of violence were to occur.
    The things that money can't buy.
    Those are the things Harrold ISD Superintendent David Thweatt says he wants to protect.
    "Many people can learn how to effectively and safely guard others with firearms," Thweatt says.
    Certain teachers, though he won't say who or the number who do, carry guns daily at the K-12 school, which has just more than 100 students.
    "Anonymity is key to what we do here at Harrold," Thweatt says.
    His idea to let some teachers carry guns inside the classroom was put into effect in 2008.
    He says the Oct. 2006 shooting at West Mines Amish School spurred his idea.
    "What was key about that is that it was the milk delivery man," Thweatt says.  "And the milk delivery man, we would have let in our door."
    Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, he says he stands by his policy, and that quick action is what's needed in mass shooting type incidents.
    "Virginia Tech was nine minutes.  Fort Hood was three minutes.  This one the other day, I think, was under four minutes.  Police cannot respond during that time.  You have to do something to protect you at the source," Thweatt says.
    And it's a policy local residents and parents appreciate.
    Ginger Sullivan, a Harrold resident, says, "With the way things are going now days, to keep our children safe, I think some teachers, as long as they are responsible and have taken their safety courses, yes, should be allowed to carry a weapon to protect our children and themselves."
    Nanette Duncan, whose children go to Harrold, says, "We really firmly support it.  The school is out here in the middle of the highway and you never know what comes across.  It at least gives our chance a fighting chance if something does happen."
    As for the potential threat of a teacher opening fire...
    "I think the chances of that happening are more slim than having someone come into your school to try to harm your kids," Thweatt says.
    He says the district has never had a problem with a teacher having a gun, and each one who goes through extensive testing and psychological profiling to ensure that teacher is a good candidate.
    Thweatt says he's talked to many other school district officials about implementing a policy like his, but he wouldn't tell us which ones.
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