In accordance with a new Texas law, a North Texas school district has approved a plan to put armed guards on every school campus to ensure students’ safety. 

Earlier this week, the Allen Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to provide every campus with an armed security guard to meet the requirements for House Bill 3, school safety legislation signed into law earlier this year. 

Allen ISD’s superintendent of operations, Brent Benningfield, advised at Monday’s special meeting that the new program needs to be implemented before the school year starts. He further noted that due to the active shooter in their community in early May, the board should put safety measures in place to reassure students and faculty that they are safe at school.

“I know everybody is aware that we have students in the building on August 10, not after September 1,” Benningfield said. “Why would we wait a month to provide [security] when they’re already in the building?”

Indeed, Allen ISD has armed security guards or school resource officers at secondary schools around the district. However, there are not enough police officers to provide the remaining 17 elementary and early childhood schools with security personnel. 

Benningfield and his team selected L&P Global Security as the best option for the district. One benefit he laid out during the meeting was that L&P uses the same programs and training as the Allen police and fire departments. Another advantage is that the school will have the same officer at their campus every day, so children will be able to recognize the officer and school faculty will be able to build relationships with them.

“The L&P company agreed to structure this much like an SRO program and have a consistent officer at each elementary, day after day,” said Bennington. “Also, these particular personnel are just appropriated for Allen ISD.” 

Enrique Valentine, who works in security at Allen High School and formerly worked for the Secret Service, advocated for the district’s need for armed security officers, saying he sees weakness in the schools.

“In my professional opinion, I can tell you that our buildings are sorely lacking in terms of how to respond to an armed intruder,” explained Valentine. “I’m hopeful that there’s something we can rectify in the years to come.”

Other schools around Texas are currently finding ways to enhance security measures in their schools and meet the requirements of new school security legislation.

All Texas school districts have until September 1 to implement new security measures or claim a “good cause exception.”

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.