For Thweatt and his board, the decision was pure mathematics.
The school, which sits in the middle of a prairie, was too far from law enforcement for police to come in time to fend off would-be attackers. The students and staff would be safer if on-site, trained staff members were equipped to handle a crisis at a moment’s notice, they decided.
Thweatt had already installed a $100,000 state-of-the-art security system in the school. Now, arming certain unnamed school staff members by allowing them to strap a firearm under their clothing was the final flourish.
In the year since that historic decision, a gun was never brandished or fired at the school. There were no problems, Thweatt said.
However, one week after school began, police busted a methamphetamine lab set up in an abandoned house that sat 50 feet from the school property.
A deputy had peered inside and “saw something in the walls and windows and called for backup,” Thweatt said. “They made it to the abandoned house in 15 minutes. We had figured it would take 18 to 20 minutes in a typical situation.”
Had that been an armed intruder at his school, response time would have been too slow.
“We’re the first responders. We have to be,” Thweatt said. “We don’t have 5 minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell” if attackers had targeted the school.