New marshal program aims to protect ‘vulnerable’ school campuses

MAXWELL, Texas (KXAN) — The new state school marshal program is now under way in Maxwell, just outside of San Marcos.

About 20 law enforcement officers from agencies across the state are participating in the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, or ALERRT program.

They’re learning how to protect children in active shooter situations.

“It’s kind of an insurance policy,” said John Curnutt. “You hope you never need it, and pray you don’t.” Curnutt is ALERRT’s director of training.

He says schools are vulnerable because in Texas the buildings are large, gun-free zones.

Republican State House Rep. Jason Villalba introduced the Protection of Children Act following the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012.

It allows school employees to become on-campus marshals and carry weapons.

“They will be training on active shooter, first responder, how to protect our children in a moment of crisis when someone breaches that front door,” said Villalba.

The officers will take part in a mock shooting later this week.

After that they’ll take their knowledge home and train any school officials who want to become marshals.

Requirements include 80 hours of classroom and simulation courses as well as license renewal every two years.

The school marshal will also have to pay for the training and certification themselves, unless grant money is provided.

School districts in Austin, Dripping Springs, Hays and Round Rock say there are no immediate plans to have marshals on their campuses.

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