Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law Thursday that removes the cap on the number of teachers who can become armed marshals in schools.
This bill, along with others intended to promote school safety, came in response to the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting that left eight students and two teachers dead after a student opened fire, according to the Associated Press. No gun control measures were passed as part of the legislation.
The Texas school armed marshal program certifies teachers and administrators through 80 hours of training and active shooter drills. It was created after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Abbott urged more teachers to go through the training after the Santa Fe and Parkland shootings. Applications rose in the following months.
Prior caps limited the number of marshals to one per school or one for every 200 students. Now, schools can arm as many teachers as they think is necessary to ensure the safety of their students.
School marshals are able to carry a concealed handgun if their primary duty does not involve “regular, direct contact with students.” All other marshals must keep their weapon in a locked safe within their classroom or office. The identity of school marshals is kept secret in accordance to state law.
Arming teachers has been a subject of controversy as more states are considering similar legislation.