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TheOak 04-07-2013 06:07 AM

700 pack free concealed-handgun class for educators in Tarrant County
KENNEDALE -- After a spring break cruise, Leah Smith and her family returned home to find their garage door dented and backyard fence smashed.
Police confirmed that their Grand Prairie home had been the target of an unsuccessful break-in.
"That was a wake-up call," said Smith, a gun owner for the past decade. "We got lucky this time, but we knew we needed to better arm ourselves."
So when the first-grade teacher heard that a free concealed-handgun-license class -- largely prompted by the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. -- was being offered to Texas educators, she immediately signed up.
Billed as the "largest CHL class ever held," the all-day session drew roughly 700 teachers and administrators Saturday to the Performing Arts Center at Kennedale High School.
Participants delved into gun safety, state and federal laws, and dispute resolution, among other topics. Firing at a gun range comes later.
The class was the brainchild of Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL sniper killed in February, and Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn.
Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot to death Feb. 2 at a Glen Rose gun range.
Iraq war veteran Eddie Ray Routh, who relatives say suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, has been charged in the killings and is being held in the Erath County Jail.
Waybourn, a concealed-handgun instructor since 1996, disclosed that he considered canceling the class after Kyle's death but said he knew his friend would have wanted it to go forward.
"Chris often said, 'It's our duty to serve those who serve us,'" the police chief said. "And we knew we should start with those who serve our children."
The Dec. 14 shootings of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were largely the inspiration for offering the free course to educators, he said. Waybourn heard from numerous teachers concerned about protection, he said.
A hot topic

Since the Connecticut shootings, arming teachers has become a much-debated topic in Texas and elsewhere.
Texas law allows school districts to decide whether to let licensed employees carry guns on campus. Only a few districts permit it, although others have weighed changing their policies or have increased security measures.
Waybourn made clear that the class was not pushing for arming teachers in schools. And the Kennedale school district, which hosted the instruction, is not considering allowing faculty members to have weapons on campus.
In late March, Cleburne school officials said they would not pursue a proposal to allow teachers, administrators and other staffers to carry guns in school after a communitywide survey showed that many residents and students opposed the idea.
Superintendent Tim Miller said that an English teacher at Cleburne High School surveyed her 10th-graders and that the overwhelming majority didn't want teachers to have firearms in class.
Some suggested alternatives like having teachers carry Tasers or Mace and installing metal detectors.
Last week, a plan to train armed teachers to engage in gunfights with intruders in classrooms, at campus sporting events or at board meetings won approval from the Texas Senate Education Committee and now heads to the full chamber, The Associated Press reported.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, calls for 16 hours of training to show teachers how to protect children first, then return fire.
But at the Kennedale class, Waybourn cautioned educators that firearms should be used only as a last resort in dispute resolution.
"Your gun is rarely the answer," said the police chief, who responded to tweeted questions from the audience.
"It's mostly what goes on between your ears."
No guns were handled Saturday, and participants were specifically told not to bring their own.
But the required live-ammunition firing practice will be held over the next several days at a private range in Kennedale. After completing both classroom and hands-on training, participants will be eligible to receive concealed-handgun licenses. After Saturday's free session, the cost for the rest of the special program is $10 and a box of ammunition for practice shots.
Teachers speak out

Many teachers said they plan to carry concealed handguns, while others said they only wanted to learn more about firearms.
Smith, the Grand Prairie first-grade teacher, said she would support arming teachers who received proper training.
"More protection can't hurt," she said. "Maybe it would save lives."
Marilyn Mykel, a special-education teacher in Argyle, said she and her husband bought a handgun several years ago after an attempted backyard kidnapping of her son, now 10.
They had long considered obtaining concealed-carry licenses but never got around to it.
Then came Sandy Hook.
"We said, 'This is it,'" Mykel said. "We need to protect ourselves."
Although her school does not allow guns, she hopes that will change.
But Lolita Looney, principal of Bruce Wood Elementary in Terrell, said she viewed the class as an opportunity for educators to protect themselves outside school.
"As educators, we come into contact with people from all different walks of life," Looney said. "We never know who we'll run into at the grocery store or just out and about. We should be prepared."
Chris Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, and his brother, Jeff Kyle, spoke briefly to participants.

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TheOak 04-07-2013 06:10 AM

Re: 700 pack free concealed-handgun class for educators in Tarrant County
Tried to move into Poli area and can't.

Danno 04-07-2013 08:07 AM

Re: 700 pack free concealed-handgun class for educators in Tarrant County
Great article. I too think teaches should be armed with at least a taser. Maybe they're just too expensive?

Would a taser have stopped Adam Lanza? I don't know enough about them or how effective they are.

TheOak 04-07-2013 09:22 AM

Re: 700 pack free concealed-handgun class for educators in Tarrant County
Where there is a possibility that guns could be involved, anyone expected to defend should be allowed defense.

Now as cold as this sounds, it's a simple truth. Common sense would have prevented what happened at Sandy Hook.

"Shari Thornberg says she was running late and fears she passed the gunman when she walked through the parking lot to the front doors of Sandy Hook Elementary School at 9:30 Friday morning.

That was the time, police say, that 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered the school for an attack that killed 20 children and six adults, and wounded two others. Police say he earlier shot his mother to death in their home.

Thornberg, an educational assistant for a fourth-grader with special needs, says the school's doors were locked and she was buzzed in. She held the door open for a co-worker and walked through the foyer into the principal's office, where she signed in and glanced at the staff news bulletin."

1. Someone saw a gunman in the parking lot and did nothing but go in to work.

2. Someone buzzed a gunman into the school. After all, what other reason would the front door require a biz in? TO PREVENT

NYTimes says he forced his way through the front door.

Anything look forced here?

TheOak 04-07-2013 05:47 PM

Re: 700 pack free concealed-handgun class for educators in Tarrant County
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