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Skidmore-Tynan ISD's 'Guardian Program' helping to deter possible threats

Staff members must submit to a background check and psychological evaluation to participate in the program. The identities are also kept anonymous to protect them.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As local school districts increase security measures after Tuesday's shooting in Uvalde, Skidmore-Tynan Independent School District is taking its own approach. 

The districts "Guardian Program" trains and arms staff who want to volunteer and project the campus from threats. Staff members learn from instructors with the Department of Public Safety. Additionally, staff members must also submit to a background check and psychological evaluation to participate in the program.

Richard-Tynan ISD Superintendent, Richard Waterhouse spoke with 3News about the importance of programs like these keeping students and staff safe during emergencies.

"Bad things can happen and they can happen anywhere, we've seen that," Waterhouse said. "And so we have to do our very best to try to be ready for whatever takes place and I have folks that are prepared to do that."

Waterhouse said that about 80% of staff trained to be guardians have military experience. The identities of those in the program are kept anonymous in order to protect them in a lockdown situation. 

Nancy Vera, president of the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers, says she doesn't believe arming teachers is the solution.

"I think that teachers should be our first responders. I think that the first thing we need to do is start putting together ideas and how to protect them and especially the children," Vera said. "Because we can't have these things happening, these tragedies happening all the time."

S-TISD said the program works. They work closely with the Bee County Sheriff's Department to train for emergency situations but rely on their campus Guardians while they wait for law enforcement to arrive.

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