Pflugerville ISD offers school for school marshal training

In a few days, school hallways will be filled with kids. On Friday though, the lesson being taught at Windermere Elementary in Pflugerville was about survival.

Active shooter training scenarios were held as part of the school marshal program. It's managed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. "You've got to put them in a position to where they face themselves,” said Kim Vickers who heads up the program. 

Some exercises include children in classroom that have to be cleared.  

For some of the student trainees doing that has result in being washed out. "One of the students, actual said, that left, said they never truly grasped what this is about and who they were the world they were walking into, doing this, until they had a gun in their hand, walked around and they looked sitting their looking at child, sitting at a table, and she said this isn't for me,” said Vickers.

The 20 people taking part in this current class are from school districts throughout the state. They are teachers, administrators even school board members.

To get in you have to apply. A state gun permit is required.

There's a psychological evaluation and then there’s 80-hour course work.

"We train them that the fire arm is only a tool for the School Marshal it’s not the end all be all solution of the School Marshal,” said Deputy TCLE Director Michael Antu.

Licenses are renewed every two years and the identities of those who become a school marshal are not public. Two trainees, from southeast Texas, who asked not to be identified talked about the challenges they've faced.

"In training you think, ah we are just training, but when you start opening doors and clearing rooms, your anxiety level goes up even in training,” said the trainee who is a ISD Board member.

Another trainee, a school principal, spoke about learning to use deadly force against a threat.

"It’s an incredibly difficult decision to come to terms with that,” said the school principal.

The trainees have to deal with the possibility that the threat may not be from a stranger but from a student or a parent, that they know. The principal explain how he would be able to pull the trigger of a gun under that kind of stress. "If our safety of all of our other kids are at stake in that situation, or our teaching staff, is at stake, then absolutely,” said the principal.

The school board member, said he didn’t realize how intense the program was going to be.

"I recommend this training to anybody arming their teachers."

This is the fifth class this summer. The 20 individuals in this class are among 94 who have signed up this summer. 71 school marshals have already completed the course work most were on duty during the last school year.  

Interest in the School Marshal program increased after the school shooting at Santa Fe High School and the governor's round table discussions on school safety.

Program managers warn, what they are offering is not for every school district  "Nobody is forced into doing any of this, playing this role, but if they are going to play it they need to address this issues in their mind,” said Vickers.

There is also the School Guardian program. Standards are not set by the state but by school districts that want to arm employees as guardians.  

Pflugerville ISD, which provided the campus for the training Friday, is not part of either program.

PISD officials tell FOX 7 Austin News say safety upgrades have been done on several campuses for the new school year. Some of those upgrades includes the hiring of additional unarmed campus security guards.