In a recent development, the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District, situated southwest of Austin, Texas, has made the decision to implement an armed civilian security presence in each of its eight elementary schools.
This decision was reached through a board vote and is intended to enhance the security measures currently in place across the district.
The new security initiative involves hiring school marshals, who will be responsible for patrolling school premises, conducting safety drills, and carrying out regular safety checks.
These marshals will effectively replace the off-duty officers currently stationed on campuses. Although they will not wear uniforms, the marshals will be armed with concealed handguns and will be employed by the school district.
Their primary responsibility will be to engage and protect students and staff in the event of an active attack. To maintain a level of discretion, the identities of these marshals will be kept confidential.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, these marshals will be required to obtain certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
Additionally, they will undergo training provided by the San Marcos Police Department, as confirmed by Police Chief Stan Standridge during a recent school board meeting.
Out of approximately 1,200 school districts in Texas, 74 of them have implemented similar marshal programs.
The school board members approved a three-year pilot version of the marshal program with a 6-1 vote.
Although the exact start date of the program has not been disclosed, it is estimated that the district will spend over $500,000 per year on the program during its pilot phase.
This decision by the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District comes in the wake of a tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman took the lives of 19 students and two teachers less than a year ago.