School boosts security with controversial signs

School boosts security with controversial signs

SHAMROCK - Shamrock isn't the only panhandle school district to allow trained staff members have guns on campus, but the message to potential threats posted outside the school is a first and it's turning heads.

If they grab your attention they're what they were meant to do.

"We want the signs to be a deterrent, we want people that drive up to our campus to know that we have taken steps to protect our kids," Shamrock ISD Superintendent Wes Beck said.

Beck ordered two eye-grabbing signs back in July when the school board voted unanimously to allow trained staff members to have guns on campus.

It's all part of a security plan more than a year in the making.

"A lot of people think it had a lot do with the tragedy at Newtown and it did not. We'd been talking about it long before that," Beck said.

It could be considered controversial but this sign shows the school board means business when it comes to protecting students.

Beck says staff members volunteer to take CHL classes and other extensive and expensive training before a school-owned firearm is placed in a classroom vault.

It's just one of a few upgrades easing the minds of most parents.

"Well personally I'm very excited about it. I think it's a great step in the right direction for our children," said one pre-k mother.

"Our teachers should be trained, I think every teacher should be trained because you just don't know what's going to happen," said another mother.

Others are concerned the signs, and the guns in the school, are only asking for trouble.

But the district believes their research proves this is best way to keep Shamrock's 439 students out of harms way.

"We feel good about the steps we've made," Beck said. "We think that our plan has been well thought out and well researched, so like I said, it's not perfect but it's better than it was."

The district spent about $150,000 on security including 30 new security cameras, an intercom system, and bullet proof windows. They plan to spend another $300,000 in the next three years on construction to make schools entrances even safer.