Union Grove to allow armed staff, Gilmer ahead of curve on officers
Jan 20, 2013 | 3245 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Union Grove ISD became the first school in Upshur County and the second school in Texas to approve a policy to arm certain teachers.

Under the policy, adopted by the UG school board, selected licensed and trained teachers and administrators will be allow to carry firearms on the district’s campuses.

Union Grove ISD, located just north of Gladewater, has 761 students.

The policy adopted by the board provides for selection of the armed staff from those who have a current Concealed Handgun License (CHL), the same thing as a Concealed Carry Permit or License (CCL).

Those school employees who are selected must also complete additional training in crisis intervention, hostage situation management, and other training as directed buy the board. The district will pay for the additional training, and the board is considering budgeting $10,000 a year for its expense.

Supt. Eric Gray said that those who will be armed will not be identified.

It is yet to be determined whether those allowed to be armed may carry the gun on their person or must have it locked up on the campus.

About 50 citizens from the district showed up at the Thursday-night meeting at which the new policy was adopted.

Gray asked for a show of hands as to how many agreed with the new policy, and everyone raised their hands.

He said the policy would allow the fastest possible response to an emergency situation, such as what developed at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticutt.

Gilmer ISD has three Upshur County sheriff’s deputies as School Resource Officers. They are armed while they are on duty at the schools. Being armed is a requirement for a licensed peace officer in Texas, said Deputy Mark Moore, who is assigned to Gilmer Bruce Junior High School.

One is at the High School, one at the Junior High, and one covers the Intermediate and Elementary Campuses, which are adjacent.

Deputy Mark Moore, who serves as one of the resource officers, pointed out to The Mirror that the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement has a certification program for School Resource Officers. All officers who work in schools must complete that certification.

Gilmer Supt. Rick Albritton pointed out that Gilmer ISD has been in the forefront of having School Resource Officers.

“We’ve had them for the 11 years I’ve been here, and they were doing it before that,” he said.

The National Rifle Association recently proposed having armed officers in schools to deter violence.

Albritton said that the officers are “more than an armed guard, they help build relationships with the community which help in the future.”

Albritton said that he estimates the program costs the district about $130,000, since it provides compensation (salary and benefits) for the deputies assigned to the program.

He also said that Gilmer ISD is probably the only 3A District in the state, and possibly the only school, to have a School Resource Officer in the Elementary School.
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January 20, 2013
Considering the fact that Union Grove is just a couple of miles from nowhere on one side and Gladewater on the other, I'm glad they are doing this. My son attends this school, and I have never had to worry about his safety. I did have concerns after Sandy Hook... if something so tragic can happen there, it would appear that it can happen anywhere, including Union Grove. Oddly enough, any person foolish enough to attempt such an act would possibly be torn limb from limb by the office staff. That's one tough bunch!