Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Texas Law on Qualification to Instruct Armed Teachers

A Texas bill outlining the requirements to certify instructors and the minimum course requirements for arming teachers was passed by a Senate floor vote on April 15, 2013.

As reported earlier, SB 17 will face a floor vote some time this week. That bill dictates the requirement for education professionals and school employees to take a course approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

SB 1857 directs DPS on the minimum qualification a firearms instructor must meet in order to be certified to teach those courses. If further outlines the minimum skills and classes that are to be included in the course.

The qualifications include specialized training normally conducted at advanced levels in police academies and military training. Such topics include basic protection of students, increasing accuracy under duress, and means of denying as assailant from even entering a classroom.

The tactics and techniques direct reasonable escalations and measures to take first. They seem to emphasize the use of deadly force as an absolute last resort. Most armed law-abiding citizens as well as martial artists agree that the use of force should always be a last resort, when no other means available will reduce or mitigate the threat.

Per SB 17, the course will be free of charge to two school employees from any school that does not employ full-time armed security or police protection on site. Schools may send additional employees for certification. But the costs of the course will be the responsibility of the district, school, or individual. This law will also apply to open-enrollment charter schools.

relating to the certification of certain qualified handgun instructors to conduct school safety training. 
       SECTION 1.  Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 411.1901 to read as follows: 
(a)  The department shall establish a process to enable qualified handgun instructors certified under Section 411.190 to obtain an additional certification in school safety.  The process must include a school safety certification course that provides training in the following: 
             (1)  the protection of students; 
             (2)  interaction of license holders with first responders; 
             (3)  tactics for denying an intruder entry into a classroom or school facility; and 
             (4)  methods for increasing a license holder's accuracy with a handgun while under duress. 
       (b)  The school safety certification course under Subsection (a) must include not less than 15 hours and not more than 20 hours of instruction. 
       (c)  A qualified handgun instructor certified in school safety under this section may provide school safety training, including instruction in the subjects listed under Subsection (a), to employees of a school district or an open-enrollment charter school who hold a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under this subchapter. 
       (d)  The department shall establish a fee in an amount that is sufficient to cover the costs of the school safety certification under this section. 
       (e)  The department may adopt rules to administer this section.