"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, August 18, 2008

The 4th R in Harrold, Texas: Revolvers

Thirty miles from civilization, the braintrust running the schools in Harrold, Texas voted to allow teachers to carry heaters in order to protect children from the bands of "armed maniacs" imagined to be traveling the nearby highway. Now who's the armed maniacs?

There's one item Houston-area school officials say teachers can leave at home when classes resume later this month: Their handguns.

Houston school districts said there's no way they'll follow the lead of a tiny North Texas school system that may be the first in the nation to let employees pack heat at their lone 110-student K-12 campus.

Harrold Superintendent David Thweatt said his school board unanimously passed the policy last October to protect employees and students in the case of an armed intruder or hostage situation.

He wouldn't say how many teachers went through the authorization process, which includes receiving a Texas concealed handgun license and undergoing crisis management training.

Thweatt said that despite the outrage from his public school peers, Harrold stands by its decision. The first few months of the new policy have gone smoothly, he said.

"We think we have acted cautiously and wisely," said Thweatt. "Others should be free to govern their school districts as they see fit."

Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff's office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district's lone campus is situated just 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.

Texas' penal code prohibits firearms at schools "unless pursuant to the written regulations or written authorization of the institution."

Alief school board member Sarah Winkler, vice president for the Texas Association of School Boards, said she didn't even realize that school trustees could vote to override the law. Individual school boards shouldn't have that type of power, she said.

"This is just appalling," Winkler said. "One accident, and I don't know how the school board would live with themselves."

She wasn't the only Houston educator stunned by the policy.

"It's a disaster waiting to happen," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. "It's right up there with worst ideas in the history of modern education." . . . .


  1. Anonymous1:29 PM

    Every story along these lines makes me wonder first about curricula and teaching practices in the districts involved. I mean, barring the precedent of extreme violence in this tiny school system, it's baffling how the superintendent would even *arrive* at the thought of arming his workers. Sen. Obama was called to task for saying what so many of us know: gun fetishism masks deeper and more compelling deficits, insecurities, etc. And this superintendent Thweatt seems on the face of it to be using this issue to fight a cultural war, a cause which adds zero to the instruction of the children under his administration.

  2. If they don't do well on the test shoot to wound. That'll promote a high standard.

  3. Anonymous11:25 PM

    The reason they voted to train with weapons is that the principle was beaten nearly to death by an upset parent. The nearest law enforcemnt officer is 40 miles or more away. It's crazy not to arm the teachers, expecially since we know we have terrorist coming across our southern borders following in the same footsteps as the illegal aliens. Check history, the facts prove that terrorists will kill our children if they get a chance, they have been declared "an honorable target" by Al Queda....