Cayuga ISD approves policy allowing some employees to carry firearms

CAYUGA (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Cayuga ISD is ready to move forward with implementing a new policy allowing employees approved by the school board to carry a concealed gun on school property, Superintendent Dr. Rick Webb said Tuesday.

The Cayuga school board unanimously approved the policy, also known as the guardian plan, during a regular monthly meeting following a public hearing on Monday.

A shooting in mid-December in Connecticut that left 20 school children and six school employees dead has brought the issue of arming school employees to a head and sparked the initiative of school boards adopting a policy on weapons, Webb said.

Cayuga is the latest East Texas school district to approve such a policy. Others that have already adopted a gun policy include Westwood ISD, Van ISD and Union Grove ISD. The policy was first adopted by Harrold ISD near Wichita Falls in 2007.

Adoption of the policy by the Cayuga board is "one part of a comprehensive program to do all that we can to make our school as safe as possible for our students and faculty," Webb said.

"Our school district started looking at it (a proposed gun policy) in late January. In their meeting Jan. 28, they (district trustees) discussed the matter and decided they wanted to invite our school attorneys to come and visit with us about that possibility," Webb said.

Tyler attorneys John Hardy and Randy Cook advised the Cayuga board during a meeting on Feb. 7 "about what we would be looking at if we wanted to approve a policy of that type and one of the things we decided was we needed to have a public hearing and try to get input from the community," Webb said.

Approximately 50 people signed in for the public hearing Monday. "That was a sizeable turnout for our little rural community," Webb said, observing that the crowd was a mixture of parents and school employees.

After the hearing, the board approved the proposed policy during a regular meeting.

The policy has four components.

The first component requires that any person authorized to carry a weapon on Cayuga school property has to be an employee of the district. Secondly, the person has to be approved by the school board. The third part of the policy requires the person to

have a concealed handgun license. The fourth requirement is that employees who bring a weapon to school must first undergo training such as crisis management, active shooter training and handling a hostage situation.

"Now that the policy has been approved," Webb said, "We will begin to become informed of individuals on our staff that are interested in participating in the program and then identify the training they need to attend before they can bring a firearm to school."

Employees interested in bringing a handgun on campus will have to apply and be approved by the school board, Webb said.


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