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More East Texas schools upping security on campus

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(KYTX) - More East Texas school districts ramping up security at their campuses.

Leverett's Chapel is now the fifth East Texas school district to give specific employees permission to have guns in the classroom. Pine Tree ISD has added security guards and secured school entrances. 

All of this, with student safety in mind, after our country is rocked with several violent attacks at schools.

 

"Ongoing issues in other states, in fact we had one here in Houston in our own state, that it's just kind of put it to the forefront, and the district has said, you know what? We're changing the way we do everything," says Pine Tree ISD Officer Christopher Bethard.

Before this year, Christopher Bethard was one of only two Pine Tree ISD resource officers armed with guns.

"This year they approved in the budget that in addition to the two school resource officers that are there full time, we have contract labored an officer on every campus," Bethard says.

That's five total, and the students love having them around.

Pine Tree Elementary School Principal says, "They see the officers as someone who can help them, someone they can trust and feel comfortable knowing that they're here."

Pine Tree has also installed what Bethard calls a 360 degree security plan.

"Restrictive building entry into the campuses. They have added several walls into place, funneling all visitors into the office," Bethard says. "The top most security for our children."

That same desire for student safety is what prompted the Leverett's Chapel Board of Trustees to approve concealed weapons on its campuses. The measure was approved August 26 and many in the community support it.

"I think the teachers having some guns would help save the kids if anything ever happens, but I don't think guns are the answer," says grandmother of two Leverett's Chapel students, Lucretia Maxwell.

Maxwell hates that it has to come to this, but wants her family safe.

Like similar "Guardian Plans" only school employees who have been individually authorized by the board of trustees and have a concealed carry permit will be allowed to bring a handgun on to school grounds. Those employees will also get extra training on top of having that permit.

The four other East Texas school districts that already let certain employees carry guns on campus are: Union Grove, Van, Westwood, and Cayuga.

 

 

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