KBS Reference Desk: Volunteers Under Guardian Plan

Q:       The shooting in Uvalde has us evaluating the scope of our security personnel. Can the District arm volunteers under a guardian plan?

 A:        Yes. Neither state nor federal law prohibit non-employees from being authorized through a guardian plan to carry a weapon on campus.

 Guardian plans are promulgated pursuant to Texas Penal Code 46.03(a)(1), which limits criminal liability for any individual who possesses a firearm on school property pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution. Authority is also provided via the federal Gun Free School Zone Act, which allows school districts to grant written permission for an employee or individual in a contract with the District to carry firearms on campus.

While non-employees arguably can carry, there are risks associated with allowing both employees and non-employees to carry firearms on campus pursuant to a guardian plan. The TASB publication and demonstrative linked here is of value when weighing those risks.

https://www.tasb.org/services/legal-services/tasb-school-law-esource/business/documents/sch_marshals_and_other_personnel_carrying_firearms.aspx

https://www.tasb.org/services/legal-services/tasb-school-law-esource/business/documents/options-for-employing-sch-safety-personnel.pdf

If your board elects to move forward with a guardian plan in which your district elects to arm non-employees (including trustees), we recommend participating in a workshop to dive into the challenges raised in the linked resources. Contact your local school district attorney for further assistance.

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