A vision of armed officers at every school in Texas is facing the reality of not enough money or police as a new mandate took effect Friday, showing how a goal more states are embracing in response to the nation's cycle of mass killings is proving unworkable in many communities, reports the Associated Press. Dozens of Texas’ largest school districts, which educate many of the state’s 5 million students, are reopening classrooms without meeting the state’s new requirements of armed officers on every campus. The mandate is a pillar of a safety bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, who rejected calls for gun control despite angry pleas from parents of children killed in the Uvalde school massacre. Texas has nearly 9,000 public school campuses, second only to California, making the requirement the largest of its kind.
"We all support the idea,” said Stephanie Elizalde, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, which has more than 140,000 students. “The biggest challenge for all superintendents is that this is yet again an unfunded mandate.” The difficulties show limits to calls for armed guards at every school, more than a decade after the National Rifle Association championed the idea in the face of an intense push for stronger gun laws after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. The new Texas law allows exceptions but does not require districts to report compliance, making it unclear how many schools are meeting the standard. By all accounts, many are not. AP asked 60 of Texas’ largest school districts about whether they were able to start the school year in compliance. The districts enroll more than 2.7 million students combined. Not all districts responded and some declined to discuss staffing levels, citing security concerns. District statements, along with a review of school board meeting actions and statements made to local media, show at least half have been unable to comply with the law’s highest standard.