TYLER, Texas — The Guardian Program is a key component of the state's plan to keeping students safe at school. Districts can decided to adopt the program to allow qualified staff to arm themselves and protect their school if needed.
Lead instructor of the Guardian Program Brian Proctor said that after Uvalde, they saw a 40 percent increase in the program certifications. And just this week alone they’ve onboarded 10 to 12 school districts in Texas and the requests keep coming.
In East Texas alone, Proctor said there are 8 to 10 school districts that have adopted the program like Tyler ISD and Kilgore ISD. Other school districts like Chapel Hill ISD, are still considering the program.
"The event in Nashville actually highlights the point in the need of something like the Guardian program, because there was a 14 minute gap, from what we understand, between the incident and law enforcement arrival," Proctor said.
Proctor said with the training provided to the guardians, the response to a school shooting can be immediate.
"The goal is to have a guardian in there that can provide that immediate, deadly force defense against that deadly force action," Proctor said.
Proctor notes that they make sure the guardians are fully trained, equipped and evaluated to respond to any emergencies.
"Our training is actually pretty intense, we go beyond the normal state certification. We put them through real active shooter scenarios and evaluate how they're able to protect those kids in those school environments," Proctor said.
He adds that they certify the guardian and their firearm qualifications throughout the year. Most campuses keep a warning sign that there are armed people to protect the kids.
Proctor said 98 percent of school districts keep their guardians confidential.
The sole purpose of the program is to provide protection for the school. Proctor also tells me that every district requires up to 80 hours of additional education training for guardian qualification.