Arming teachers is hard, even in gun-loving Texas

But Texas, a state with a fabled gun culture, has allowed teachers to sign up as campus “marshals” since 2013 through a program signed into law after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The initiative has seen fewer than 300 educators sign up across 62 school districts, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, even after some restrictions around the program were loosened following a deadly 2018 mass shooting at a Houston-area high school.

A survey of more than 1,000 state school districts by the Texas School Safety Center meanwhile concluded only 280 systems participated in an older, separate and far less regulated state “guardian” program meant to deploy armed teachers as last-ditch guards against active shooters.

Plenty of risks accompany the training.

“One of the most candid conversations we have with school districts is: When an officer shows up and doesn’t know if you’re the good guy or the bad guy, he’s not gonna ask questions,” Kathy Martinez-Prather, the state school safety center’s director, said in an interview.