HALLSVILLE — The Hallsville ISD board of trustees approved guidelines Monday for its school guardian program.

Six board members voted to adopt regulations for the program that will arm three to five administrators by August 2019. Trustee Lee Gaw, who voiced opposition for the program in July, abstained from voting.

Assistant Superintendent John Martin said the board members have had 30 days to review guidelines for the guardian program.

Board President Jay Nelson said that because it’s now a board policy, trustees would have to reconvene if they want to make changes to it.

The approved guidelines state that school guardians can display or use the firearm on school property only if “there is an active shooter or assailant using a weapon to create ‘a life-threatening event’ or to cause ‘serious bodily injury.’” In addition to the guardians, the district has its own police department to patrol its five campuses.

Hallsville ISD plans to select and train candidates this month, according to a tentative timeline presented in July by Martin.

“For the protection of staff members identified as candidates, the designation will be revealed in executive session, and their identities will be kept confidential,” the regulations read.

Candidates must “successfully complete” a psychological evaluation, obtain a license to carry a handgun and go through additional training including “extensive firearms training” and crisis intervention.

After completing the training, the district’s safety selection committee will vote in July 2019 on candidates and recommend approved candidates to the board of trustees, according to the timeline. Board members will vote to give guardian authority to each staff member individually and “issue each authorized member a ... resolution that authorizes participation in the program as a Security Team Member.”

“Neither board members nor approved guardian members will divulge to students, community members or other HISD employees that they are carrying a firearm or are authorized to carry on school property. The superintendent may suspend or revoke authorization of guardian at any time. The board may revoke such status from the superintendent at their discretion,” the regulations state.

Firearms that guardians are eligible to use were not specified in the document, but it did identify that only “frangible ammunition ... distributed by the HISD Police Department” is permitted. When frangible bullets are discharged, they break into small pieces upon impact.

Guardians are required to annually undergo 40 to 60 hours of additional training and keep their license to carry a firearm current. The district will provide a U.S. Concealed Carry Association insurance policy for each guardian for the duration of their membership.

Trustee Doug McGarvey complimented Martin and the district on the detailed regulations.

“I think y’all did a great job of listing everything to be thought of on there,” McGarvey said.


Brittany Michelle Williams, a University of Arkansas alumna, serves East Texas as an education reporter at the News-Journal. She won Arkansas Press Association and Arkansas AP Media Editors awards for her work in El Dorado, Arkansas.