Students and Parents of Tenaha ISD:
Schools across the country are being forced to prepare for the unthinkable - the potential of a mass school shooting. The news is full of incidents like Columbine, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and most recently and way too close to home, Uvalde, Texas. Schools, as “Gun Free Zones,” have been seen as “free fire zones” by troubled individuals. They have become aware there is no one firing back while they complete their mission of taking the lives of helpless, innocent students and staff.
Tenaha ISD has been watching the devastation with the rest of the world and considering appropriate measures and policies. New protocols have been created, new routes have been devised, new procedures have been implemented…all in an effort to increase safety and security in the event we are to ever face this situation. In addition to these efforts, our Board of Trustees has recently approved the implementation of a Guardian Program at Tenaha ISD.
The Guardians will be staff members who have passed each of the following requirements (and more):
1. Hand selected staff members.
2. Must have their Concealed Handgun License (CHL).
3. Must qualify annually with the specific handgun they will carry. This means qualifying on the gun range through a process which is under the control of the sheriff’s department and DPS agency.
4. Must be trained in tactics for denying an intruder entry into a classroom or facility.
The people who make it through the training and gain final approval are VOLUNTEERS. In order to protect them from becoming targets of an intruder, their names are confidential and will not be released. Confidentiality is IMPERATIVE to the success of this program with those identities not even being released to our Board of Trustees. We strongly ask that names not be “guessed at” nor rumors passed in an attempt to protect these individuals.
New signage will be posted on all campuses stating, “ATTENTION: Please be aware that the staff of Tenaha ISD may be armed and will use whatever force necessary to protect our students and staff.” These signs are extremely important. They are not posted to be braggadocios, but to yield a warning to any potential intruder. A different target would be in their best interest. We will NOT allow our schools to become places where our students and staff are afraid to spend their days. Potential threats need to know that our community is serious about the safety of our students and staff, and WE WILL NOT TOLERATE VIOLENCE.
So this decision may cause you to ask the question, “May I carry a concealed handgun or open carry on campus or school property?” The answer is NO. The law states that a person may carry a handgun on their person or in their vehicle outside of the “premise”. However, once you walk through our doors or into an event within the facility, you are prohibited from having the handgun. No students, parents, nor most staff will be allowed to carry. Only those who have gone through extensive training, met all requirements and been approved as guardians will be allowed to carry. Please continue to be aware that any gun or weapon rumored to be on campus or seen on campus should be reported immediately. This can be done directly to an administrator or staff member, or anonymously at our website homepage through the Anonymous Alerts link.
The Guardian Program has already begun. By November 1, 2022, TISD will have 12 fully trained and qualified Guardians on campus, also supported by 2 armed security officers. We thank you for your cooperation and continued support regarding our screening process for entering the facilities and events. Please remember and be prepared that in order to enter our facilities or events you will be subject to a voluntary screening conducted by our district personnel. In the event you do not wish to comply, entry to the facility or event will be denied.
Thank you for entrusting your children with us each day. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff.