Just west of the Sabine River a third public school district has had its board pass resolutions ok'ing the arming of district employees. As of April 23rd, Orangefield ISD has joined High Island and West Hardin County ISD's in recognizing that administrators and employees will be the first on the scene should a random attack take place on their campuses.

The decision now is whether to utilize the School Marshals program in which the identity of the armed employees is not known, very similar to the flying air marshals program and they have actual law enforcement powers or The Guardian Program. There are distinct differences between the two.

Getty Images

The State of Texas first legislated into existence the ability of public schools in the state five years ago in 2013 with two programs with two different desired outcomes.

If the school goes with the School Marshal Plan, individuals must have 80 hours of classroom instruction and are capable of making an arrest as sort of a pseudo policeman. The training includes some live fire, and arrest procedures and laws with a focus on security and law enforcement.

Teachers and districts also face stricter rules and must attend an approved police academy in the state for training. The design is to make part-time policeman out of school administration with the ability to make an arrest and act in accordance to how you'd expect an armed guard to be able to act.

The Guardian Program also called School Safety Training, requires only 16 hours of training but has much more live fire training including simulation training in active shooter scenarios. The program can be customizable for each school district including in-house or on-site training at the actual school campus.

The design of The Guardian Program is simply to protect students from an active shooter prior to law enforcement arrival.

These three districts are all essentially in rural areas, and school board members have said the slow response times from local law enforcement played a large part in the decisions.

The Guardian Program is in use at High Island and West Hardin schools.

Explanation and comparison of the Texas gun-in-school safety legislation and the two programs are here.