Freshman state Rep. Jason Villalba of Dallas has spent a lot of time bragging on himself for sponsoring the new, so-called “school marshal” law, a legislative response to the tragic Connecticut school shootings. So have many of his colleagues who voted for the bill, but the Dallas ISD police chief, for one, knows the law is mostly a political product – and a potentially dangerous one at that.
The law allows school districts to designate certain teachers or other school employees who have concealed handgun licenses to bring guns to school, allegedly to beef up campus security.
As reported in the Dallas Morning News, DISD Police Chief Craig Miller testified against the bill before a legislative committee and repeated his opposition today in remarks at a regional crime commission meeting.
“I question giving a teacher a couple weeks training with a gun and saying go out there and do the job,” he said, obviously aware that trying to defend a school campus against a heavily armed, maniacal intruder is difficult, even for professional police officers.
Realistically, for many teachers, it would be almost impossible.
The “school marshal” program is optional, and Miller said DISD will not participate in it. The district, instead, has invested several million dollars in cameras, buzzers, electronic card readers and other security measures for campuses.
Many small districts don’t have campus police or enough money for effective security measures. Their only option may be the school marshal law.
But adding guns to campuses by arming teachers is much less a realistic answer to protecting children and school employees than it was a political effort by some legislators to “address” a horrendous shooting tragedy without offending the National Rifle Association.