Nederland school leaders, police chief discuss possibility of armed teacher program, outline next step

Published 8:27 pm Monday, August 15, 2022

NEDERLAND — School administrative leaders will begin polling interest and feedback from Nederland Independent School District teachers and personnel on enhanced safety measures in the coming weeks, which could include armed members of the faculty.

Superintendent Dr. Stuart Kieschnick said that was the next step following a Monday evening presentation from Nederland Police Chief Gary Porter that advocated for the addition of an NISD Guardian or Marshal Program.

“It needs to involve our people, getting feedback from them as to how this goes forward and what makes our people feel comfortable,” Kieschnick said during Monday’s school board meeting.

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Porter said Nederland Police stand ready to do whatever is necessary when it comes to an intruder inside one of the schools with intent to harm students.

“That includes giving our lives if we have to do that,” he said. “I will tell you, with that said, our response time to any type of active shooter event or somebody trying to harm one of our children will be quick, probably two minutes on average.”

However, Porter stressed a lot can happen in two minutes if someone gets through present security layers and into one of the schools with a firearm or knife.

“You can harm and kill a lot of people in a couple of minutes,” he said.

Porter said a school district as proficient as Nederland, which recently earned an “A” in state performance ratings, could work with a law enforcement partner to create, train and implement such a program in six months, which would add another layer of security to local campuses.

Any discussion of such a program is still in its infancy, with many details left to be hammered out should administrators and the school board continue on such a path.

Nothing was agreed to this week.

Some of those fine points include a volunteer process, executing training, implementing psychological testing and defining what type of firearms would be allowed and how they would be carried.

“With the right training and reasonable rules, regulations and protocols, without getting too much in the weeds and complications, we can do it,” Porter said. “I don’t see where it is a problem. We can do it safely. Everything has a little bit of risk involved with it. Let’s work together and mitigate those risks.”

Porter said it is time for Nederland schools and police to take the lead and “operate on facts and what we have seen happen. It is time for us to do that.”

Authorities stressed this week that Nederland Police are already a daily presence across city campuses, routinely checking locked doors and making connections with students and teachers.