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School's Gun Policy Growing More Popular

HARROLD, Texas_In light of the Sandy Hook School shooting, a Texas school that's been blazing its own trail is back in the spotlight.

The Harrold Independent School District, about 30 miles west of Burkburnett, implemented a program in 2008 making them the only school in the nation allowing its teachers to carry concealed handguns. Since coming out with the 'Guardian' program in '08, the school district has been blasted on not only the national, but international stage. Although, now that our nation has endured yet another tragedy, they're noticing a change in attitude.

David Thweatt is a busy man these days. His phone is ringing off the hook because people are clamoring for his opinions on school gun control. While he still feels there's a huge prejudice against concealed handguns in society, he has noticed that the number of those who view his district's policy as responsible and progressive is growing.

Thweatt has been superintendent of Harrold ISD for 9 years. Over half of that time has been spent with him in the hot seat. Initially, his district's controversial 'Guardian' program allowing teachers to carry concealed handguns received tons of negative attention, but that hasn't bothered him one bit.

"I just do what I think is right. And some people have that personality, and I do and unfortunately for some people they don't like that, but I have no problem thinking outside the box. I have the tendency to be very creative, " said Thweatt.

In 2008 his district was the first in the nation to allow teachers to carry concealed handguns. At the time Thweatt and his district were viewed as paranoid and backward, but now in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy, he's noticing a different reaction to their way of doing things.

"They're realizing that the risk of being unprepared is worse than this particular risk of being prepared."

Thweatt has fielded interviews from media outlets not only across the nation, but the world, wanting his thoughts on school shootings. Most notably, he's noticed a spike in school leaders calling him for advice.

"I can't even count the number today of school leaders I've talked to across the nation and the state having to do with enacting these policies. As we speak. And I know we're moving forward."

Thweatt still receives plenty of backlash, but he is forging ahead working with Texas state legislature to get policies in place to help implement the 'Guardian' program in school districts across Texas, if they so choose. To him, it's the solution that makes the most sense.

"If people are intent, bad people are intent, they're going to do damage with whatever weapon or tool they have. If good people are good people then they will help save lives. That's the bottom line."

Since the 'Guardian' program was implemented in 2008, Harrold ISD has had no reason for the teachers to open fire. Superintendent Thweatt can't say for sure if the program has worked as a preventative measure, but he said statistics show gunmen do not show up at places where there's a chance they'll get shot.

The 'Guardian' program does require teachers to receive training to handle the guns. Thweatt will not release how many of his teachers conceal handguns, citing anonymity as one of the most powerful parts of the program.

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