STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
KINGSLAND — When Rodger Woods announced he was holding a free license to carry course for teachers, by the second day, he had 60 educators from across the Hill Country signed up.
“It helps awareness, builds familiarity and the confidence related to guns,” said Woods, who is the operator of R and M Training Solutions.
The day-long course, which includes in-class instruction in the morning and a shooting proficiency test in the afternoon, begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at Kingsland Water Supply Corp., 1422 West Drive. The proficiency test takes place at a firearms range in a different location.
“A lot of people don’t realize that, currently, in Texas, there are 110 school districts that allow their faculty and staff to carry concealed (guns) while at school for the protection of their kids,” he said.
Recent tragic events have sparked interest in his course, which now has more than 80 teachers and school support staff expected to attend.
“It’s sad that it takes a tragedy to push something. After what happened in the (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School) in Parkland, Florida, a few weeks ago, I think that, coupled with a change in the law, has raised awareness,” he said. “School employees are feeling now that maybe they need to have a way to protect themselves and those who they are charged with caring for while they’re there during the day.”
A new Texas law effective Sept. 1, 2017, also cleared the way for educators to potentially play a lifesaving role during an active shooter event.
“The way the law was written before, unless a teacher or school employee had written permission from the school, they were unable to have their gun, even with a license to carry, on school property,“ Woods said. “As of September 1, the new law allows educators to have their firearms in their vehicles on campus if they are (licensed to carry).”
Over the past four years, R and M Training Solutions staff has reached out to teachers; however, Woods geared the upcoming course toward private and public school teachers due to a heightened concern about safety.
“People want a response to what is happening and how to protect themselves,” he said. “They want to look forward to seeing how they can help.”
A number of entities associated with firearms training, production, and education are underwriting the cost for the educators to take the course.
“Because there has been such an interest in this class and a response from this class, we’re probably going to do another class in April or May,” Woods said. “You train with the firearms, you have the facts about them, and you safely use those firearms; it’s a win-win for everybody.”
To find out more about the upcoming courses, contact Woods at (325) 423-0124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.