NATIONAL NEWS

Texas bill proposes up to $25K for armed school ‘sentinels’

Apr 25, 2023, 4:21 PM

FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...

FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, to honor the victims killed in the school shooting. Texas schools could offer $25,000 stipends to teachers and staff who take on the dual role of becoming armed campus “sentinels” under a proposal advanced Tuesday, April 25, 2023, by state lawmakers in response to the Uvalde classroom attack last year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas schools could offer stipends of up to $25,000 to staff members who add the role of armed campus “sentinels” to their regular duties under a proposal advanced Tuesday by state lawmakers in response to the Uvalde classroom attack last year.

With U.S. mass shootings to fund armed officers in all U.S. schools.

Texas already lets teachers carry guns under a voluntary program that requires firearm lessons but has drawn relatively few takers. Under the new proposal, armed personnel must also train in identifying students with mental health issues.

“What I want to pay them for is hopefully getting the training needed to spot the children before we have a problem,” said Republican state Rep. Ken King, who authored the bill.

The legislation, which overwhelmingly passed the Texas House with bipartisan support, now goes to the Senate where its prospects are uncertain. Texas lawmakers have only a few weeks left to pass any school safety measures before adjourning on May 29.

That is just a few days after the anniversary of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. Some of the families have spent months pleading for tougher gun laws — in particular one that would raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles — but GOP leaders have made clear they do not support new restrictions.

Under the Texas bill, teachers and staff of public and open-enrollment charter schools would be eligible to earn up to $25,000 extra for opting to be armed for campus security. They would also need to take courses in first aid, firearms training and mental health training, which would be added to the mental health training Texas lawmakers want to require for all school employees.

Other new school safety measures advancing in Texas would require at least one armed person — ranging from a police officer to a school staff member — on all public school campuses. A bill requiring silent panic buttons in classrooms is now headed to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.

Texas state Rep. James Talarico, a Democrat and former teacher who voted against Tuesday’s proposal, said he worried the bill would create an incentive for teachers struggling financially to start carrying weapons.

“Even teachers who don’t want to carry guns may feel like they are financially pressured to do so just so they can provide for their families,” Talarico said.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012, Texas created a voluntary school marshal program in which applicants must first be approved by their school districts, pass a psychological exam and receive 80 hours of training, including in live-shooter scenarios.

In its first four years, the program certified just 33 school marshals across the state, which has about 9,000 campuses. By summer 2022, shortly after Uvalde, there were still fewer than 400.

National News

FILE - In this image provided by KFOR-TV, a heavily damaged vehicle is seen off a road in Tishoming...

Associated Press

After crash that killed 6 teens, NTSB chief says people underestimate marijuana’s impact on drivers

DETROIT (AP) — A horrific crash that killed six high school girls in Oklahoma two years ago has the head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board urging parents to warn teenagers about the risk of driving after using marijuana. Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy made the appeal to parents Thursday as her agency released the final […]

19 minutes ago

FILE - Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, speaks as President Joe ...

Associated Press

US agency says apps that let workers access paychecks before payday are providing loans

NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday that apps that allow workers to access their paychecks in advance, often for a fee, are providing loans and therefore subject to the Truth in Lending Act. If enacted, the proposed rule would provide clarity to a fast-growing industry known as Earned Wage Access, […]

2 hours ago

Botanist Florencia Peredo Ovalle works in her greenhouse in Gardnerville, Nevada, Tuesday, May 21, ...

Associated Press

Green agendas clash in Nevada as company grows rare plant to help it survive effects of a mine

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — A botanist gently strokes the pollen of endangered wildflowers with a paintbrush as she tries to reenact nature inside a small greenhouse in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada. It’s part of a lithium mining company’s grand experiment intended to help keep an extremely rare desert plant from going extinct in […]

3 hours ago

Sergio Solano, an immigrant from Mexico, gets ready for his next delivery, June 21, 2024, in New Yo...

Associated Press

Newly arrived migrants encounter hazards of food delivery on the streets of NYC: robbers

NEW YORK CITY (AP) — Brad Song thought he was about to get his e-bike stolen a second time in a less than a month after delivering an order for Chinese food app Fantuan Delivery. Seven strangers surrounded the Chinese immigrant and knocked him off the scooter. He was rescued when a nearby motorist revved […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Illinois sheriff’s deputy charged with murder in fatal shooting of woman who called 911

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois sheriff’s deputy has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a woman insider her home. Sonya Massey was killed after Sangamon County deputies responded to her 911 call early on July 6, State’s Attorney John Milhiser said. A statement from Milhiser doesn’t describe the circumstances that preceded […]

3 hours ago

FILE - This undated file photo shows members of the Grateful Dead band, from left to right, Mickey ...

Associated Press

The Grateful Dead and Francis Ford Coppola are among the newest Kennedy Center Honors recipients

WASHINGTON (AP) — An iconoclastic filmmaking legend and one of the world’s most enduring musical acts headline this year’s crop of Kennedy Center Honors recipients. Director Francis Ford Coppola and the Grateful Dead will be honored for lifetime achievement in the arts, along with jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, blues legend Bonnie Raitt and the legendary […]

4 hours ago

Texas bill proposes up to $25K for armed school ‘sentinels’