Electra ISD speaks on defender program

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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ELECTRA, Texas (KAUZ) - Electra ISD has decided to implement a defender program for all of its campuses.

The employees participating in the program will be armed and prepared for any emergency involving an active shooter but will have to go through training to do so. Superintendent Ted West said he started working toward the program after the Uvalde tragedy earlier this summer.

“With the tragedies that happened elsewhere in Texas, we felt it was time for Electra ISD to start looking at adding an extra level of security,” West said.

The defender program is expected to be implemented by fall of 2022.

Interested teachers will undergo three days of training, including classroom instruction, scenario-based training and firing range practice. They’ll also have to pass a psychological exam before they can enter the program, but all participants will stay anonymous.

“It could be any of our employees that qualify for the program, so it could be teachers, it could be administrators, it could be custodial staff, maintenance staff. We will have a wide variety of people that will be involved in this program,” West said.

West said he spoke with the school board, community members and other school districts that have this program in place before deciding to move forward. Sarita Russell, a teacher that has been working for the district for 26 years, is completely on board with the program.

“I thought it was a good thing,” Russell said. “I think it’s very sad that we have to do this in public education, but these are the times and we’re going to have to do something to ensure the safety of our kids.”

Russell said it is a teacher’s responsibility to keep their students safe.

“That’s our job, we defend our children, we take up for them,” Russell said. “They are our kids basically from the day they start until they leave, they’re always ours.”

Students and parents will be notified of the program once it is fully in place when the new school year begins. A similar program is also in place right down the road in Harrold.

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