New Texas Law Permits More School Marshall AppointmentsOctober 9, 2019
Texas schools that choose to participate in the state’s School Marshall Program will now be able to appoint twice as many School Marshalls if they would like to. This is due to House Bill (HB) 1387, which went into effect on September 1st.
With this new law, Texas schools can now appoint one Marshall for every 100 students in daily attendance (at public and charter schools) or enrolled (at private schools).
While some have seen this as a strong move to enhance school safety, critics argue that there’s no evidence more school Marshalls will keep schools safer and that it may negatively impact students.
What Are School Marshalls?
Marshalls are school personnel that have completed the required training to serve as armed peace enforcement officers when law enforcement officers are not present. The identities of school Marshalls are only known by a few officials.
Prior to HB 1387, schools were limited to appointing one Marshall for every 200 students (in daily attendance or enrolled, depending on the type of school).
Supporters See New Law as a Way to Improve School Safety & Deter Potential Attackers
With more school Marshalls on campus, schools have more options for addressing potential threats and launching rapid-response protocols in emergency situations, supporters say. They also contend that:
- More school Marshalls may help dissuade potential school shooters from carrying out attacks.
- The new law gives schools the freedom to increase Marshall appointments; it doesn’t require more appointments.
- There’s no evidence suggesting that the presence of school Marshalls has negative impacts on students.
Opponents Fear New School Marshall Law Could Have Negative Impacts
Opponents to the new law argue that there’s no evidence supporting the safety of the School Marshall Program and that:
- More Marshalls could have negative impacts on classroom culture and learning.
- The Marshall Program promotes “a fear-based response” regarding how to handle a possible active shooter scenario.
- There may be more effective strategies for promoting school safety, like staffing more counselors and offering more mental health programs for students.
With the new School Marshall Law already in effect, many are eager to see whether it will truly make a difference and enhance school safety.
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