Sanford-Fritch ISD enhances safety measures

Signs posted on the grounds at or near the entrance to the campuses of Sanford-Fritch ISD in Fritch (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

The Sanford-Fritch Independent School District has placed new signs at the entrance to all three campuses. The signs inform people that the district is now conceal-carry safety program certified. This came about after the district worked out legal details enabling select teachers and staff to conceal carry or have access to weapons that are locked up.

“I was excited to hear that,” said Melissa Hatfield, parent. “The fact that they’re taking an extra step to protect our kids in the event something was to happen, makes me feel good as a parent.”

“Essentially were the first line of defense now,” said Jim McClellan, superintendent, Sanford-Fritch ISD. “We will immediately surrender our weapons to the law enforcement once they get here on campus in the event something happens.”

McClellan tells ABC 7 News selected members of the staff chosen, had to go through three days of extensive training and undergo extensive physical and psychological tests, in order to meet the requirements of providing an extra line of defense.

“Our county is large,” said McClellan, “Our sheriff’s department maybe miles away when having to respond. We have limited resources with our police department although its growing and becoming much better than it has in the past. We just felt like we needed to do another step to protect our kids.”

“Over the course of last year it has taken us along with our legal representatives and our board policies the steps required for any of these select staff members to carry a firearm,” said Dixie Watson, principal at Sanford-Fritch Junior High School. “The selected staff chosen will also have control of a locked safe on campus.”

Watson tells ABC 7 News every precaution is being taken to ensure safety every day and not just in situations.

“If parents have questions or concerns they can come and talk to us,” said Watson.

Hatfield tells ABC 7 News for other parents like her, it’s reassuring that their loved ones at the campuses are being kept safe.

“It’s sad the way the world is right now,” said Hatfield. “You always have to be prepared no matter what. I think it’s a very good thing that they’re putting place for the kids for all the students that come here the safety for everybody. That’s the number one thing.

First day of school is on August 17. Sanford-Fritch ISD joins Panhandle, Claude, Childress, Quanah, Shamrock and Highland Park as other districts in the Texas Panhandle to train teachers and staff for conceal carry.

McClellan tells ABC 7 News they will have conceal-carry, as long as the district has the support of the school-board. Funding for the program came available from a bond passage.

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