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A Texas bill offering stipends up to $25,000 to arm teachers in schools has passed the Texas House in the first gun-related legislation since the Uvalde massacre last year.
House Bill 13 passed the Texas House Tuesday with overwhelming bipartisan support with a vote of 125-21. Tuesday marked the first day the Texas legislature passed bills in response to the Uvalde massacre last year that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
House Bill 13 would also require teachers who are armed to take firearm training, first aid training, and mental health training for them to identify any student who would pose a risk to other students.
“What I want to pay them for is hopefully getting the training needed to spot the children before we have a problem,” said Rep. Ken King (R) who is an author on the bill and represents Uvalde.
Texas already has let teachers carry a gun for more than a decade under a voluntary program that requires firearm training and psych evaluation, but very few participate in the program.
“I can tell you talking to parents, grandparents, educators, even classroom teachers from Uvalde, having someone there as a security guard is a sense of safety,” Rep. Dustin Burrows (R) said in support of the bill.
Texas solution: Arm teachers
Multiple law enforcement officers entered Uvalde elementary school three minutes after the gunman with body armor on and guns drawn before the shooter fired a shot inside the school. They waited over an hour to confront the gunman.
Speaking to The Black Wall Street Times, Bradley Hinton, a second-grade teacher in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said “It is absurd funding can instantly appear to support teachers when it comes to an agenda outside teaching. Teachers have been pleading for years for stipends and salary raises to simply have enough to take care of their family and to have basic necessities.”
“When I received my BA in Elementary Education and M.Ed, none of the course curriculum study included fatal weapon training. We profoundly have enough on our plate and now asking teachers to be a fatal force speaks volumes of how much legislators are out of touch,” Hinton added.
State Rep. and former teacher James Talarico (D) said in opposition “even teachers who don’t want to carry guns may feel like they are financially pressured to do so just so they can provide for their families.”
The bill has been sent to the Senate where its future is unsure.