If you are unfamiliar with the rather innocuous-sounding Texas "School Marshall Program" let me paraphrase it for you. It gives Texas school districts the option to have trained citizens (not police, military, etc.), referred to as "marshalls".  These folks are allowed to either carry a firearm or have one accessible to them inside a school. The hope behind this law is that teachers and other school staff will be that proverbial "good guy with a gun" and be able to mitigate the harm of a school shooting incident. Honestly, I believe it is a good idea... in some cases.

For instance, there are rural Texas schools that may be several minutes away from a meaningful police response. If it's going to take 30 minutes for police to even get there, then it would be asinine not to have a trained and trusted armed person there.

This program has been in place since 2013, as a repose to the Sandy Hook massacre, and was met with a very lukewarm response by schools until the program saw an uptick after Uvalde. It is up to schools and/ or the individuals participating (whether teachers or other staff) to pay for the training, the firearm, .etc. That absolutely could be why there are not more actively participating school districts. That could be the reason I cannot find a single instance of a Texas marshall stopping a school shooting. I have only found that no marshall has had to engage with a shooter... yet.

logan waver on unsplash
logan waver on unsplash

It would be reasonable for you to counter, "But what if their presence alone stopped a shooter from even thinking about trying it?" And you very well may be right. There is no way to quantify that except to perhaps look at whether or not school shootings have decreased overall since 2013. They have not. And considering that about half of school shooters die during their attack, putting the fear of death into them doesn't seem like the best prevention method.

Texas is #2 in the nation for school shooting incidents, right behind California. These are states with very different gun laws and cultures. The obvious observation would be that they are both very large and very populous states and that this is simply a problem everywhere in the U.S.

As more and more marshalls decide to pick up arms, only time will tell if a shooter is ever stopped before police engage. In the meantime I worry about accidents, bad decisions, and quite honestly, I worry about the marshalls, who are literally putting themselves in the line of fire- both literally and figuratively.

If you would like to take a deep dive into everything a school district must consider before implementing this program, read this document from the Texas Association of School Boards. 

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