My daughter’s principal approached me in the hallway the other day. I’d just finished running my part of the Wednesday Book Club, but the principal knew me from lunchroom duty. That’s where I hand out napkins, open recalcitrant containers, give bathroom passes, enforce discipline and mess with their heads (in a nice way). As part of that duty I wear an apron around my waist. Despite covering my outside-the-waistband holster with a shirt, the whole rig occasionally rides up and exposes part of the Kydex shell. I always pull it down and vow to take off my empty holster before entering the school. One kid noticed it and remarked on it once. Apparently he wasn’t the only one . . .
“One of the parents asked me to talk to you,” the principal said. “She wanted to know if you carry a gun in the school.”
“No I don’t, ” I replied, a little taken aback but unapologetic. “I observe all local and state laws.”
“Someone must have seen your holster,” the principal said, revealing that he, too, had noticed my RKBA Glock schlepper. “Well I told her I would talk to you about it,” he said, somewhat reassuringly. “And now I have.”
Why would it matter if I carried a gun in the school? Again, I don’t. More importantly, my daughter is a student at the school. That should be an excellent indication that I am not now, nor will I ever be, a threat to anyone. As is my nature, revealed by my interactions with the children, faculty and staff in the dining room. The school trusts me enough to look after their kids without a gun . . .
I reckon part of the parent’s paranoia stems from the realization that their child is vulnerable. As is mine. If there was someone at the school with a firearm intent on harming someone, well, what then?
School security is, of course, a joke. There’s a sign-in procedure at the front desk but there’s no buzz-in procedure at the front doors. There are plenty of easily breached side doors and entrances. There is no armed School Resource Officer. Thanks to Bush the Elder’s Gun Free School Zones Act, this means there are no armed individuals in the school. At all. Until and unless there are.
There could be an armed protector in situ, next year. After the Newtown massacre, The Lone Star State created the Texas School Marshal Program. Here’s the 411 from chron.com:
Under the bill, a designated school marshal could carry a handgun unless they have direct contact with children, and then the gun would be kept locked up, to be removed “only under circumstances that would justify the use of deadly force.” The designee could be a teacher, an administrator, a coach or a faculty member, and their identity would be known to law enforcement and the head administrator.
The marshal would be trained in a program to be established by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers, and would carry a two-year license. If they so choose, school districts could adopt more stringent policies, the bill states.
So —IF the school district decides to participate in the program, the ONE person in a school that’s “allowed” to use a firearm to defend ALL the children in the school can’t carry a gun if they have “direct contact” with kids. And if one of the teachers who isn’t a secret Texas School Marshal needs to call on the services of the ONE teacher who IS armed, or at least could be, they can’t, because they don’t know who it is.
And if a school’s locking-up guns—sorry “a” gun—to deal with an imminent, credible and deadly threat to children, why the hell is it a handgun? In that situation an “assault rifle” is a far superior weapons platform with which to dispatch the person or persons trying to murder people within the confines of a school.
My daughter’s principal looked aghast when I asked him if her school was going to participate in the School Marshal Program. “That’s not going to happen in this district,” he informed me, accurately enough. During the Beslan school massacre thirty-two terrorists led to the death of 384 people, including 186 children.
And they’re worried about my empty holster.