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The Texas Legislature set student safety as a priority this legislative session.  House Bill 1387, for example, amended Texas Education Code §37.0811(a), allowing the board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school to appoint one or more school marshals for each campus.  Prior to the amendment, only one school marshal was allowed per campus or per 200 students. This provision also applies to private schools.

As a refresher, a school marshal can be an employee of the school district or open-enrollment charter school and certified as eligible for appointment under Section 1701.260 of the Occupations Code. School marshals may carry or possess a handgun on the physical premises of a school, but only: (1) in the manner provided by written regulations adopted by the board; and (2) at a specific school as specified by the board.

School marshals may carry a concealed handgun, unless their primary duty involves regular, direct contact with students.  In that case, the marshal may not carry a concealed handgun but may possess a handgun on the physical premises of a school in a locked and secured safe within the marshal’s immediate reach. A school marshal may access a handgun under this section only under circumstances that would justify the use of deadly force under state criminal laws.

The identity of a school marshal is confidential.  Upon request by a parent or guardian, the district must provide written notice whether any employee of the school is currently appointed a school marshal, but the employee’s identity must remain confidential.

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