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New bill would put armed guards in public schools at taxpayer expense

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Amarillo, TX - With school security becoming more and more of a concern in the public mind, the latest proposal would put armed guards in our classrooms.

Senator Tommy Williams of the Woodlands filed the Texas School District Safety Act on Tuesday (Jan. 22).  The bill would allow public schools to staff their hallways with police or armed security at taxpayer expense - provided the taxpayers approve the expense.  The act proposes allowing individual school districts to create specialized taxes to pay for security, but only if the districts and the voters allow it.

The legislation presents an alternative to the recent plan to arm and train teachers who volunteer for it, a plan that has been endorsed by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

Dr. Harry Hueston, a criminology professor at WTAMU, says he thinks it would be a much better alternative to the recently proposed idea of arming and training teachers, because the security would be trained officers or guards - not educators.  And the taxpayer expense would be virtually equal.

The Texas Parent Teacher Association released a statement endorsing the idea, saying, "The ... Act is a thoughtful approach to a very serious problem and will hopefully serve to shift the focus away from arming teachers and principals in our schools, a strategy Texas PTA does not support."

An amendment to the state constitution might be necessary to allow such specialized taxes, and both would have to be approved by both Texas legislators and Texas voters.

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