WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The Bowie ISD Board of Trustees has decided to arm their staff members. Superintendent Steven Monkres said the decision is just one addition among many that the board has placed in their security plan for this upcoming school year.
Superintedent Monkres stated, "We feel like we have to just look at every option available to protect our students and our staff."
In regard to arming staff members he said, "Those staff members would have to go through a very extensive vetting process and that would include psychological evaluations, very extensive specific training – so there's a lot that goes into that."
A selection of armed staff is not the only team Bowie ISD will be putting together for the 2018-2019 school year. They are also adding a mental health assessment team to identify possible behavioral threats and counsel troubled students.
Monkres said, "Getting students that type of help is really probably the most important thing that we can do to prevent crises from occurring."
They also want to hire another school resource officer for their four campuses.
The school district pays a portion of the school resource officer's salary. For nine months the officer works for the schools and in the other three months of the year they work for the City of Bowie Police Department. The board feels an additional officer will help ensure a healthy and safe learning environment.
The Bowie City Council will make the final decision as to whether the school district will have the new school resource officer. They will make the choice when they finalize the city budget in their council meeting on Tuesday, July 17.
The school board has also invited local law enforcement to spend more time at the individual schools and to get more familiar with the campuses and students, which they feel will help keep their campuses safe.