At their monthly board meeting Monday night, trustees at Keller Independent School District approved a “guardian” program that allows specially trained educators to be armed at school so they can protect students in the event of an active shooter on campus.

The purpose of Texas’ school safety program known as the “guardian plan” is to train select school employees who hold handgun licenses, and who volunteer to participate, how to defend against an active shooter until law enforcement arrives.

“This program is voluntary, strongly selective, and requires a great deal of training and full cooperation with law enforcement officers,” said Keller parent Joel Starnes, who endorses the district’s participation in the program.

“We put a lot of trust in our teachers, as our children are sent to their care five days a week,” he said. “This provides them with more safety options to not only protect our kids, but also themselves.”

Board President Charles Randklev and the three conservative trustees elected in May—Joni Shaw Smith, Sandi Walker, and Micah Young—voted in favor of allowing Keller teachers and staff to participate in the program.

Trustees Beverly Dixon, Ruthie Keyes, and Chris Roof voted against the school safety plan.

“How do you not give someone the opportunity to protect your kids in the heat of the moment?” Young asked.

The 4-3 vote represents another example of the conservative-majority school board keeping their campaign promises to the community to protect students.

The board held a preliminary discussion about the guardian program at last month’s board meeting, where they also voted to keep age-inappropriate gender ideology out of students’ libraries and classrooms.

Young said Keller ISD has already doubled the number of school resource officers (SROs)—police officers assigned to patrol district campuses—and adopting a guardian program will add to the district’s “layered approach” to school safety and security.

Some parents said they were “terrified” of teachers having guns inside classrooms, and representatives of the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action also spoke against the proposal.

Yet Young said more than 300 Texas school districts (about 30 percent) already use a guardian plan and “have not had a single incident” to date.

The district will develop details for implementing the program early next year.

“God bless those that take on this responsibility, and God bless this board for the courage to implement it,” said Starnes.

The board also announced dates for the May 2023 board of trustees election. Candidates may file to run from January 18 through February 17. Seats held by trustees Dixon (Place 5) and Roof (Place 4) are up for election on May 6.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.