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Tx Teachers and Guns


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Do Texas Teachers Feel Concealed Handguns
Are a Viable Security Option on Texas ISD Campuses?
Timothy D. Clouse
Wayland Baptist University
EDUC 5366
1 February, 2012

This study is to explore how Texas Teachers feel about the possibility of other faculty or staff members carrying a concealed firearm on school property as a means to protect the students and staff from an armed attack. A survey was sent to 720 teachers across the 20 Texas school regions. The survey is made up of nine questions; the first seven are general information questions to provide researchers with demographic data; the remaining two are opinionated questions concerning how they feel about themselves or other trained faculty or staff carrying firearms in their school. Results were divided evenly between those that were for and those that were against having concealed firearms in their schools. Gender, prior military service, school population, and the type of school setting, i.e., elementary, junior high, or high school, generally, were not factors in determining how teachers felt about the subject; however, there was one significant finding, among teachers that possess a Texas Concealed Handgun license (CHL), results were unanimous when asked if they would volunteer to carry a weapon at their school.

Table of Contents Abstract 2 Introduction 4 Problem Statement 5 Literature Review 5 Methodology 6 Limitations of Study 8 Results 9 Conclusion 11 Reference List 13 Appendix A (Letter for Survey) 15 Appendix B (Survey Questions) 16 Appendix C (School Setting) 18 Appendix D (Rural Responses) 19 Appendix E (Question 8 Female Responses) 20 Appendix F (Question 8 Male Responses) 21 Appendix G (Question 9 Male Responses) 22 Appendix H (Question 9 Female Responses) 23 Appendix I (Question 9 Responses) 24 Appendix J (Question 8 Responses) 25 Appendix K (Survey Results) 26

Do Texas Teachers Feel Concealed Handguns Are A Viable Security Option on Texas ISD Campuses?
The safety of public schools has always been a priority of the community at large. Throughout the years, schools’ emergency action plans have emerged and evolved to include preparation for an almost incalculable amount of threats of modern society. Teachers are a classroom’s first line of defense in any emergency situation whether it be, a fire, natural disaster, terrorist attack or other violent act. During a crisis situation, their safety is at risk along with the students; however, no data has been published that represents the teachers’ point of view if one or more of their colleagues were armed for their protection.
A large number of public schools lack funding to hire Security Resource Officers (SRO), security guards or make the costly building improvements that are needed to make them more secure. Would arming faculty members and training them to intervene in a live-fire situation be a viable option? How many educators would be willing to undertake this responsibility or already have a current CHL? According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Regulatory Services Division, there are 461,724 Texas residents with an active CHL (Texas Department of Public Safety, 2010) but, there is no way of knowing how many CHL holders are teachers.
Texas is a pro-CHL state with rights to own, buy, or carry a concealed firearm after meeting prescribed qualification requirements and receiving the mandatory training for concealed carry (Texas Department of Public Safety, 2010) which make it possible for anyone, including teachers, to carry a weapon. Also, Texas has the largest rural population in the US (Combs, 2006). It is assumed that rural households are more likely to possess a gun than urban and suburban ones. Therefore, it is likely that, at least, some portion of Texas teachers own a gun.
The survey conducted in this study shows how Texas ISD faculty from rural, suburban and urban settings feel about the possibility of themselves or other faculty or staff members carrying concealed firearms on the school campuses where they work. It was partly inspired by a small rural school in north Texas, Harrold ISD, which has armed some of its teachers and staff as an addition to its school’s emergency action plan in 2008 (Sandberg, 2008, p. 1). Harrold ISD was allowed to do this through Texas Penal Code section 46.03 (a)(1); this Penal Code makes it an offense for a person to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possess or take a firearm on the premises of any school grounds or building where a school activity is taking place, “unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution” (TPS, 46.03[a][1]). The Harrold ISD school board adopted written authorization in 2007 to protect the institution as part of their school’s Safety Programs / Risk Management Emergency Plans (Harrold ISD, 2007, p. 1).
Problem Statement
There is little evidence of Texas teachers and their opinions about the security and safety of Texas’s educational institutions. What percentage of Texas faculty supports staff members, including other teachers, security guards, SRO or supplementary staff carrying concealed firearms on campus, at school sponsored events, or in the classroom and how many would be willing to carry a weapon, themselves? How many already have a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and would be willing to intercede in a live shooter event?
Literature Review
There are a lack of studies that have been published concerning teachers’ opinion of other faculty members that are trained to carry a concealed handgun at school for increased campus security. I performed exhaustive searches through Academic Search Complete, ERIC, Legal Collection, LexisNexis Academic, PsycArticles, Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection, and SocIndex search engines in the Wayland Baptist University (WBU) online library and on “Google” using search words and phrases including, “Survey of teachers about guns in school,” “Teacher’s opinions of guns in school,” etc. which produced little to no results. Gradually, broader search phrases were used including, “Teachers and guns” or “School guns opinions,” “Guns at school,” etc. These searches indicated that there was no previous research data available on this specific subject. Eventually, even broader search phrases were used including, “Safety in schools,” “Safety against school attacks,” “Violence in schools,” “School Attacks,” etc. Several of the results for these searches were about school safety, dealing with emergency plans which began with fire drills in the early 1900s evolving in the 1950s to include “duck and cover” drills during the cold war and including today’s emergency plans dealing with flu outbreaks, natural disasters, gas leaks, terrorist or bomb threats, and school attacks, such as shootings, bombings, chemicals, flame throwers and knifes or lances just to name a few (Stone & Spencer, 2010, p. 296 & Wikipedia, 2011). Other articles found during the search dealt with how school violence can affect both the student and teacher’s ability to learn or teach. Research indicated that less violence in school promoted a better physical and social environment which makes a school more conducive to students’ ability to be taught and teachers’ ability to teach (Johnson, 2009). Finally, a vast majority of the remaining search results were news articles about Harrold ISD. All of the articles about the school were written at the onset of the school’s controversial decision, but no follow-up stories were conducted to provide results or account for the success or failure of the implementation of armed staff members at Harrold ISD.
The hypothesis was that at least 3 percent of Texas teachers will support allowing properly trained, competent faculty or staff to obtain and carry a concealed handgun as a security option for their campus and that 6 percentage of Texas educators would be willing to receive the additional training necessary to do so. Given that there is no prior research on this question in Texas or elsewhere, the hypothesis was admittedly speculative. The 3 percent statistic was derived by dividing the 461,724 Texas residents with an active CHL (Texas Department of Public Safety, 2010) by the approximately 18 million Texas residents over the age of 21 (Texas Department of State Health Services, 2011). This means that approximately 3 percent of all Texans have CHL licenses. Assuming that Texas teachers are representative of the population diversity in Texas, one can conclude that approximately 3 percent of Texas teachers have concealed carry licenses, and would likely be in favor of themselves or others carrying a concealed weapon on school campuses. In fact, the suspicion was that the statistic would be considerably higher.
The survey invitation was sent to 720 teachers selected from the 20 regions across the state of Texas that work in a public elementary, junior high or high school. Thirty-six teachers from each region were selected; which in some cases have more rural or urban areas depending on the region’s location. The random sampling of these teachers began by using the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website:; the District Information drop down tab was selected, and then the District Locator. From this page, MAP was selected, then Education Service Center (ESC) region was selected from the list, then regions 1-20 were chosen one at a time from a drop down menu. Under each region, the first, eighth and last ISD listed was chosen; if any of those ISDs did not have faculty e-mails listed, the next ISD listed was chosen. Starting with each ISD’s website, the first two high schools, two junior high schools, and two elementary school’s homepages with available faculty e-mail addresses were selected. Using the faculty e-mail directory, the first teachers with the last name beginning with “B” and “S” were selected; if there were no teachers with the last name beginning with “B” or “S”, the next available letter was used. This process was repeated on each selected ISD. An invitation with a brief description of the study was e-mailed along with the link for the survey to each teacher on the list. The study consisted of an anonymous on-line survey conducted and evaluated at (Appendix A).
The projected sample size of this survey was 350 of the 720 teachers invited to participate (Creswell, 2005, p. 150); however, 109 actually responded. The first seven questions on the survey provided statistics the researchers used to classify information into groups and sub-groups by gender, student population and school type, geographical location, and military experience. Questions 8 and 9 are opinion-oriented and were structured to gain insight into the sentiments of Texas teachers regarding the use of concealed handguns at the schools where they are employed (Appendix B).
Data collected from this survey were analyzed using the following comparisons:
Comparison 1: School settings acceptance/non-acceptance of firearms in schools.
Comparison 2: School types acceptance/non-acceptance of firearms in schools.
Comparison 3: School regions acceptance/non-acceptance of firearms in schools.
Comparison 4: Male to Female acceptance/non-acceptance of firearms in schools.
Comparison 5: Teachers that have/have not served in the military.
Comparison 6: Teachers possessing/not possessing a CHL.
Comparison 7: Teachers over-all acceptance/non-acceptance of firearms in schools.
Comparison 8: Teachers willingness to receive/not receive training to protect their school.
Comparison 9: Teachers with prior military service willingness to receive/not receive training to protect their school.
Comparison 10: Teachers of different gender willingness to receive/not receive training to protect their school.
Limitations of Study
There are no established statistics to support this research. Since no other studies have been conducted on this subject, there is no data to compare with the results of this study. Another concern was that there is no way to predict the number of teachers who would respond to the survey. This concern was valid. The response was very low for this survey; there were only 109 questionnaires completed. The first time the survey was sent out, 61 individuals responded to the survey. Due to the low response, the survey was sent out a second time to the same email list with a chance to win a $100.00 gift credit. Those that previously completed the survey were automatically entered for a chance to win the gift credit and those who participated in the second survey would also have a chance to win. The expectation was that the gift credit would entice a higher number of participants in this survey. Unfortunately this did not work as well as was hoped; after the second round, there were only 48 more completed surveys.
Out of the 720 Texas teachers the survey invitations were sent to, 109 responded. Eleven teachers opted out of the survey and 29 invitations were “bounced” back; it is assumed that some of the schools’ email systems rejected the survey as SPAM and these surveys never reached the intended recipients.
One amazing fact from this survey is that 52% of the teachers in would be willing to carry a concealed weapon for their school protection and 51% would be in support of faculty or staff carrying concealed weapon for school protection. Other pertain factors were, at least one person from each district filled out the survey with heavier responses in districts 2 and 5. The largest number of respondents was reported from rural schools at 63% (Appendix C). Teachers from suburban schools provided responses for 23% of the survey while urban teachers only allowed for 14% of the responses. Within the rural responses, high school teachers provided the highest response at 55%, while elementary teachers provided 28% of the replies and junior high teachers followed up with 17%, as shown in Appendix D.
The size of school population represented by the teachers varied slightly. Schools with less than 300 students were represented by 30 teachers (28%); schools with 300-499 students had 33 responders (30%); teachers at schools with 500-699 students accounted for18 replies (17%); and schools with 700 or more students accounted for 28 of the responses (26%).
The majority of the responders were high school teachers 45% (49), 22% (24) were junior high school teachers and the final 33% (36) accounted for the elementary school teachers.
There were 55 males and 54 females that participated in the survey. A higher percentage, 54%, of female teachers felt armed staff members would be beneficial in schools as shown in Appendix E, as opposed to, 49% of the male responders (Appendix F). However, a significantly higher amount of male responders, 61% (Appendix G), were more comfortable with carrying a weapon in the classroom than their female counterparts, 39%, as shown in Appendix H. Of the 13 percent of teachers who reported prior military service, 13 were male and 1 was female. A marginally higher percentage of prior-service members agreed that it would be beneficial to have armed staff members in schools, 57% versus the overall approval rate of 51%. The amount of prior-service members willing to carry a concealed weapon for their school’s protection was 57%, and was only slightly higher than the overall average of 52% (Appendix I). Only 3 of the prior service responders currently have a Texas CHL.
There were seven teachers who reported having a Texas CHL (6%), one of whom was female, nearly all, six of the seven, said they approved of having armed faculty or staff members at their school and all seven said they would volunteer to carry a concealed weapon for school security themselves.
When the teachers were asked if they felt faculty or staff members who were properly trained and permitted to carry a concealed firearm would enhance their school’s safety, 51.4% (56) responded, “Yes” and 48.6% (53) replied, “No”( Appendix J). As shown in Appendix I, A slightly higher amount, 52.3% (57) of teachers responded they would be willing to receive the training and carry a firearm themselves while 47.7% (52) would not. The complete survey results can be seen in Appendix K.
This study discovered that more than half, 51%, of Texas teachers would support the use of concealed handguns in their school for the protection of students and staff and over 52% would be willing to get training to carry a concealed firearm for their school’s protection, themselves. This is much higher than the 3 % acceptance rate researchers originally projected before the study began which was derived from the overall number of Texas CHL holders. It is interesting that having prior military service does not guarantee the teacher will support armed faculty at their school. In fact, 57% of prior military educators answered, “Yes” to the question about teachers and staff with guns which is near the overall response of 51%.
Responses were divided pretty evenly between men and women. One fascinating finding was that women opted for the armed staff members more often than the men while the opposite is true when it comes to carrying a weapon, themselves. The biggest variances between the male and female population were that males were more likely to have served in the military or have a CHL.
The most thought-provoking finding of this study was among CHL holders; 100% of the CHL holders reported they would volunteer to fulfill the necessary requirements to carry a firearm at their school. And all but 1, 86%, thought that staff members with concealed firearms would enhance their school’s security. This is significant in the respect that these individuals are the most aware of the requirements and training involved and the capabilities of themselves and their peers.
The majority of responders were from rural high schools; however, the findings of this study revealed no significant difference in the findings, overall, between elementary, junior high, or high schools or the population size of the schools where the teachers work. Prior military service or teachers’ gender, also seem to be irrelevant in making a clear conclusion of who, specifically, does or doesn’t support guns in Texas schools or which types of schools would or would not benefit from having concealed handguns in their classrooms. It appears that no matter where the teacher works, he or she has an even chance of supporting handguns in school as not.
Further research should include a larger survey; it is possible that more responses may include a higher urban and suburban response rate that could alter findings about who is or is not willing to have or carry concealed handguns on their campuses. The same research could be done in other states and on college campuses. It would be interesting to discover the perceived similarities/differences in attitude on allowing guns in school between public school teachers and college professors and if outlooks differ from state to state or region to region.

Reference List
Combs, S. (2006). Window on state government. Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Web. 11 Nov 2011.
Creswell, J. (2005). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (2nd ed.) 150. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
Harrold Independent School District (2007). Safety programs/risk management emergency plans. Harrold ISD CKC Local, 244901, p.1
Johnson, S. (2009). Improving the school environment to reduce school violence: A review of the literature. Journal of School Health, 79(10), 461-465.
Sandberg, L. (2008, September 1). Harrold still debating policy that allows guns in school. Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau, p. 1.
Stone, W., & Spencer, D. (2010). Enhancing an active shooter school emergency plan using ambient materials and school resource officers. The Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, 7(3), 295-306.
Texas Education Agency. Teachers. TEA, 2007-2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.
Texas Department of Public Safety. Regulatory Services Division, Concealed Handgun Licensing Bureau. Active license/certified instructor counts. TxDPS, 31 Dec. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.
Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas population data detailed age data. Projected population 2011. TxDHS, 28 Feb. 2011. Web 27 Oct 2011
Texas Penal Code. Places weapons prohibited 46.03, ( a)(1), TPS, 1 Sep 2009. Web 25 Oct. 2011.
Wikipedia. (2011). Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia. List of attack related to primary schools. Retrieved November 11, 2011 from

Appendix A
Subject Title: Your School Safety
Texas Educator,
Do you want to help make Texas schools safer? Hello, my name is Tim Clouse and I am a student at Wayland Baptist University. I am conducting a study as part of a capstone for my Master’s Program.

You are one of 720 Texas Teachers randomly selected to participate in this study which concerns the use of concealed firearms by faculty or other staff members on school property or at school sponsored events as part of the school’s security.

Your viewpoint is very important and necessary and will be anonymous.

The survey consists of nine questions that should take only a minute or two of your time.

Please follow the link below to complete survey and return by December 5, 2011.

Your participation is greatly appreciated,
Tim Clouse

Start survey:

Appendix B
Survey Questions
Thank you for participating in this survey. Please answer each question as it pertains to you and the Texas school where you are currently employed.
For the purposes of this study, “concealed” means attached to the body, beneath clothing and out of sight. “Properly trained” or “training” refers to detailed instruction on situational awareness, crisis management, and recurring firearm certification. “Screened” refers to a records review, being checked against the Mental Health Registry, and interviewed by the school board, principal and superintendent. 1. What best describes your Texas ISD school? a. Rural. b. Suburban. c. Urban. 2. What type of school do you work in? d. Elementary School. e. Junior High School. f. High School. 3. What region is your school in Texas located?

4. What is the student population of your school? g. Less than 300 h. 300 – 499 i. 500 – 699 j. More than 700 5. Are you Male or Female? k. Male. l. Female. 6. Have you ever served in the military? m. Yes. n. No. 7. Do you possess a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL)? o. Yes. p. No. 8. Do you feel that properly trained and screened faculty or staff members carrying concealed firearms would enhance the security of your school? q. Yes. r. No. 9. Would you be willing to be screened and receive training to carry a concealed handgun in order to protect the campus where you work? s. Yes. t. No.

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E

Appendix F

Appendix G

Appendix H

Appendix I

Appendix J

Appendix K
1. What best describes your Texas ISD school?
a. Rural. 63.3% (69)
b. Suburban. 22.9% (25)
c. Urban. 13.8% (15) answered question 109
2. What type of school do you work in?
a. Elementary School. 33.0% (36)
b. Junior High School. 22.0% (24)
c. High School. 45.0% (49) answered question 109
3. What region is your school in Texas located?
1. 3.8% (4)
2. 11.4% (12)
3. 1.0% (1)
4. 1.9% (2)
5. 11.4% (12)
6. 4.8% (5)
7. 6.7% (7)
8. 3.8% (4)
9. 5.7% (6)
10. 6.7% (7)
11. 2.9% (3)
12. 1.0% (1)
13. 5.7% (6)
14. 4.8% (5)
15. 3.8% (4)
16. 2.9% (3)
17. 8.6% (9)
18. 4.8% (5)
19. 2.9% (3)
20. 5.7% (6) answered question 105 skipped question 4
4. What is the student population of your school?
a. Less than 300. 27.5% (30)
b. 300 – 499. 30.3% (33)
c. 500 – 699. 16.5% (18)
d. More than 700. 25.7% (28) answered question 109
5. Are you Male or Female?
a. Male. 50.5% (55)
b. Female. 49.5% (54) answered question 109
6. Have you ever served in the military?
a. Yes. 13.0% (14)
b. No. 87.0% (94) answered question 108 skipped question 1
7. Do you possess a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL)?
a. Yes. 6.4% (7)
b. No. 93.6% (102) answered question 109
8. Do you feel that properly trained and screened faculty or staff members carrying concealed firearms would enhance the security of your school?
a. Yes. 51.4% (56)
b. No. 48.6% (53) answered question 109
9. Would you be willing to be screened and receive training to carry a concealed handgun in order to protect the campus where you work?
a. Yes. 52.3% (57)
b. No. 47.7% (52) answered question 109

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