Seminole ISD Approves New Policy Allowing Handguns at Schools

Seminole ISD Approves New Policy Allowing Handguns at Schools

SEMINOLE, TX (KWES) - A "select number" of trained, state-licensed and administration-approved Seminole Independent School District (SISD) employees will soon be allowed to carry concealed handguns at work, district officials said.

The SISD Board of Trustees approved a gun policy change during a regular board meeting on Monday night that will give certain employees the green light to "possess guns on [Seminole public school] campuses, at school events and in school vehicles at some point in the future," according to SISD Superintendent Gary Laramore.

"The district just wants to take all precautions possible to ensure the safety of our students," he said.

District officials have yet to determine which category or categories of employees - administrators, teachers or other staff -  will be eligible to arm themselves on school property.

Approved candidates will be required to hold valid Concealed Handgun Licenses issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety and undergo "extensive" district-mandated training before receiving written permission to carry firearms on school property, Laramore told NewsWest 9.

Seminole public schools were previously designated gun-free zones.

Ben Royston, President of the SISD Board of Trustees, said administrators had been pushing to update safety-related policies for at least eight years.

"We've been talking about it for as long as I've been here," he told NewsWest 9.

According to district officials, the newly approved policy change was fueled by a "growing focus on preventative measures" and was not motivated by any specific incidents involving Seminole students.

"We haven't had anything happen here since the 1980s," Laramore said. "But with all the other school shootings [across the nation during recent years] and the magnitude of the lives lost at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, we just want to be proactive here."

NewsWest 9 spoke with approximately ten Seminole parents, selected at random, who all said they were either indifferent to or pleased with the coming changes at SISD schools.

Administrators said they, too, had not heard from any parents or community members who openly opposed allowing concealed handguns on campus.

"So far, everybody has been behind it," said Royston. "I think everybody wants our students to be safe."