By CHERIL VERNON
Westwood Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted to approve the second and final reading of the “Guardian Plan” for Policy CKC (Local) Emergency Operations Monday night during a regular school board meeting — allowing board-designated and trained employees with concealed handgun licenses to carry handguns on school property.
The school board first approached the safety plan at its Jan. 14 meeting, and approved the first reading of the plan. A public hearing was held Jan. 28 — where about 45 people representing different sides of the “Guardian Plan” were allowed to voice their concerns.
“I know there are some concerns on how we will proceed, but I can assure you it will be from a professional and cautious manner with proper training and proper safety measures that are put in place with the policy,” WISD Superintendent Dr. Ed Lyman said following Monday’s meeting at Westwood Junior High School.
“From this point on, all details regarding the who, when and where will be confidential to prevent any criminals or those with violent tendencies to take advantage of knowing our plan,” he said.
School board vice president Dr. Carolyn Booker and trustees John Tilley, Kim Crawford, Dr. Don Rice and Craig Nivens voted in favor of the “Guardian Plan” after going into closed session for 48 minutes for more discussion on the issue and other personnel matters. School board president Theresa Bambeck voted against the measure. School board secretary Joni Barone was absent.
“We will be posting warning signs next to our gun-free zone signs to notify the public that there are people authorized to carry concealed weapons on campus,” Lyman said.
Westwood ISD joins other Texas school districts in approving similar plans, including Quanah ISD, Harmony ISD, Van ISD and Harrold ISD. Also in Anderson County, Cayuga ISD is holding a public hearing at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 to consider a similar policy.
In other action Monday, the school board:
• EXTENDED the contracts for the principal, assistant principal, athletic director, finance director and curriculum contracts by one year.
• HIRED a history teacher.
• HEARD from Trinity Valley Community College representatives regarding petition and election to join the TVCC maintenance taxing district. Read more about this in Wednesday’s edition.
• REVIEWED immunization report.
• APPROVED Smith, Lambright & Associates as the financial auditor for 2013.
• HEARD detailed STAAR results and information.
• ACKNOWLEDGED receipt of updated cheerleading and drill team constitutions.
• CONSIDERED dates for board of trustees’ goal setting workshop and annual team building training.
• RESCHEDULED March school board meeting from March 11 to March 18 due to spring break.
• APPROVED consent agenda items, including: minutes of Jan. 28 public hearing and Jan. 14 school board meeting; January Tax Report; campus fund-raisers; election judge, early voting clerks and workers for school board election on May 11; agreement with City of Palestine to hold joint election on May 11.
• RECOGNIZED students and teachers of the month from all campuses.
• RECOGNIZED essay contest winners.
• RECOGNIZED employees who recently retired, including Coach Mike Holder and Glenda Howard.