Palmer ISD Moves Forward With Plans to Arm Teachers

A North Texas school district is moving forward with its plan to put guns in the hands of teachers as a way to stop possible school shootings.

Palmer Independent School District's school board unanimously approved a plan to allow certain teachers to carry guns in school. The superintendent, Kevin Noack, wants to have a handful of teachers with guns, in the classroom, by next year.

Palmer ISD is a small district, with just 1100 kids split between an elementary, middle, and high school. But after the Newtown tragedy, administrators are concerned about someone opening fire during class.

"We started forming this plan after the Newtown tragedy. We knew we had to do something to try and protect our kids," Noack said. "We're hoping this is more of a deterrent for the most part."

Superintendent Kevin Noack will work with police to pick a few teachers for the program -- between 1 and 4 in each school, he estimates.

The staff members will have concealed carry permits and receive special police training at a shooting range. Noack says there might also be active shooter drills with police over the summer.

Citing security concerns, Noack says only police will know which teachers are packing heat. Even parents wouldn't be able to find out -- no matter how worried they are about guns being in a classroom.

"What would you tell a parent who is simply concerned, very concerned, about a gun being in the classroom every single day now? And she can't find out?" NBC 5 asked Noack.

"That's a good question, and it's a difficult answer. But probably my response is: you're going to have to trust us. You're going to have to trust us," Noack said.

Even if parents -- or the press -- file an open records request with the district for that information, Noack believes he's protected by state law.

"We feel like one of the keys in this being successful is strict confidentiality. Not allowing anyone to know who is carrying," he said.

Noack says he's now having frequent phone calls with the chief of police and the sheriff to figure out the best way to implement the program.

"One of the things that I know is going to be a requirement is that the handgun will have to be on their person the entire time. This is not something where the gun can be put in a purse or even locked away in a file cabinet. They'll have it on them the entire day," he added.

However, Noack says armed teachers won't go looking for a shooter out in the hallways during a real active shooting incident.

"If the shooter happens to stick his head in the wrong classroom, it'll end earlier than normal. That's what we're hoping here," Noack said.

Lee's Gun Repair says teachers with concealed weapons can come out anytime to train.

"Our kids in school are jus ttoo precious to waste," said Lee Hester. "So if this is what it takes for the idiots to stay away from the schools and leave our kids alone, this is what we want to do."

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.

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