June 16, 2014

USA: Washington State School District: We are Our Own First Line of Defense

NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

TEA Party News Network (TPNN)
written by Staff
Friday June 13, 2014

A Washington State school district is sending the message that they are their own first line of defense. Toppenish School District, located in Central Washington 20 miles southeast of Yakima, is beefing up their security with a goal of protecting its students from any potential harm. But, they aren’t hiring outside security detail or off-duty police officers. Instead, they are arming and training some of their administrators. In all, 11 administrators will be armed on campuses. This new security measure will be implemented beginning this Fall. (Watch Video shared)

As reported by KNDO Channel 23, District Superintendent John Cerna said, “The first responders are usually our administrators, and if our administrators or myself, if we’re willing to put our lives on the line, we need to be prepared.” Cerna continued adding that their objective is to keep their students and their staff safe adding that the people of Toppenish are overwhelming in favor of the new security plan.

Randy Town, School Safety and Security Coordinator, said, “I haven’t heard a lot of negative feedback from people about Toppenish moving forward with this. In fact, if I’ve heard anything, I’ve heard people say it’s about time.”

Toppenish School District is not taking the new security plan lightly. Background checks, concealed weapons permit and extensive training, similar to training that law enforcement receives, are required of all those volunteering to be part of the security team.

This is not the first time a school district has recognized the impact they could have on the safety and security of campuses, students, and staff by being their first line of defense. Harrold School District in Texas became what is believed to be the first district in the nation to let teachers and staff conceal carry, doing so in 2008. With the nearest sheriff’s office 30-minutes away, district officials believed the best way to keep their campuses safe was to be their own first line of defense. Given the distance to the sheriff’s office, officials believed such a move was necessary.

As with Toppenish, there are requirements of those participating in the security program. They must have a license to conceal carry, be authorized by the district, receive training in crisis management and hostile situations, and use ammunition that limits the possibility of the gunshots ricocheting.

These two districts are not alone as other districts in Texas followed Harrold’s lead in following years.

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