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Certification Begins For First Class Of Texas School Marshal Trainers

The first class of school marshal trainers gathered to begin their own training Monday at the Texas Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center in Maxwell, Texas, which is located northeast of San Marcos.

The group will then be in charge of training school marshals in schools throughout the state -- for schools that choose to participate in the program.

"The curriculum is primarily centered on understanding the history and the development of active shooters, coupled with firearms," said Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge, one the trainers. "Obviously we need these people to be good marksmen, and then it coalesces with team tactics, specifically how to go in distract and neutralize an active shooter.”

Teachers and school officials will be able to begin the 80-hour course at the start of this summer.

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, who authored House Bill 1009, the bill that approved the school marshal program, was on hand to greet the first class of 18 instructors.

"This is not a 'guns in school bill,' " he said. "This is a bill about putting people who have been trained by you, the same people who train our police officers all around the state, to train those folks to be in our schools so that in a moment of crisis, that moment when the madman comes to the front door, instead of having to wait, we want to have someone there that can respond in 30 seconds."

Villalba said these school officials blend into a campus.

"These are confidential representatives; so they could be a coach, it could be a vice principal, it could be a custodian, even a teacher that would be in this role," Villalba said. "They would be people you would otherwise not know and they would only have the authority to act in the moment where there is a direct threat to the lives of the children."

Villalba said only the principal and local police would know the identity of a campus school marshal and their handgun would be locked in a safe during school hours if they were around children for their job.