The Keller Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees voted last Monday in favor of new security measures, including the “Guardian Program,” which would train and arm interested teachers and staff in district schools.
The vote was 4-3 in favor.
Initially, the proposal called for security contractors, but that language was stricken in a later amendment.
Superintendent Rick Westfall and board members who voted in favor of the measure emphasized the importance of reducing response times to better protect students in the event of a mass shooter.
“We have a portfolio aimed at protecting students and staff until law enforcement can arrive during an active shooter situation,” Westfall said. “All options will be district controlled, which means the district will require as much training as needed.”
Trustee Ruthie Keyes, one of the dissenting votes, cited a district survey of parents and teachers, claiming most respondents disagreed with adopting the Guardian Program.
“It doesn’t matter what I say, y’all are going to do what you want to do anyway,” Keyes said to her fellow board members.
She stated, as a former teacher, she would not be willing to shoot one of her students.
Board President Charles Randklev responded by saying that the survey was not reliable because there was a possibility respondents could have voted multiple times in different capacities.
Trustee Micah Young brought up the Sandy Hook shooting to illustrate his support for the Guardian Program, noting that a child was shot every two seconds during the attack.
“At what point do we put the opportunity into our favor?” Young asked. “At what point do we create the opportunity to stop the violence? More than likely, it’s probably going to be 10 to 15 minutes before police arrive. How long are we willing to wait?”
After the motion was approved, Keyes said she thought there were too many unknowns to consider.
“I also know that when you start putting in variables, it can turn into anything,” she said. “And there are too many variables sitting in these classrooms.”
Board Vice President Sandi Walker, who voted for the Guardian Program, responded to Keyes.
“I have three variables,” she said, referring to her own children in the district. She explained that she did not think the board should sit back and wait for a crisis. “You yourself said you won’t defend your children in the classroom.”
Keyes argued that was not true, just that she would not use a gun.
Before the vote, district parents, students, teachers, and staff weighed in on the measure. Most of those who spoke were against the program.
“This is our worst nightmare,” said student Christine Blume, who claimed that school board members were motivated by political ideology. “Why are you testing this theory with our lives on the line?”
Charles Lewis thanked the board for, in his view, keeping children safe at school. He spoke in support of the Guardian Program, stating he believes it will be a deterrent to school shooters.
“[School shooters] may be crazy, but they are also cowards, and they don’t want anybody shooting at them,” he said.
District resident Jordan Kelvin McSwain, formerly of Washington, D.C., told The Dallas Express that there was an element to the matter not being touched on by either side — the need to create entry point barriers.
“Grace Prep that’s located right here, you have to cross the security guard before you get on campus,” stated McSwain. “[The Board] is focusing on having a gunfight in school. You want to deter the criminal from even getting into the school by creating a better perimeter.”
“They just have to understand that it’s the reason why no one shoots at the Pentagon, because of the perimeter,” McSwain said.