7.16.22 – Brownwood News
In response to the Uvalde shooting, Governor Abbott has sent a mandate for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas School Security Center (TxSSC) for implementations to be conducted before the next school year.
“[Texas] must also ensure that a culture of constant vigilance is engrained in every campus and in every school district employee across the state,” said Abbott.
According to Abbott’s new plan, school districts are required to:
1. Ensure their School Safety and Security Committee meets to review their Emergency
Operations Plan and address any campus safety needs. This includes reviewing their Active Threat plan.
2. Ensure the School Behavioral Threat Assessment Team is trained and has reviewed procedures for each campus.
3. Ensure that all staff and substitutes are trained on their specific district and campus safety procedures and that all drills are scheduled before the start of the next school year.
4. Conduct an assessment of their access control procedures, such as single access points, locked instruction room doors, visitor check-in procedures, exterior door locks, etc.
5. Complete these efforts by September 1, 2022, and certify this data to the TxSSC by September 9, 2022.
In response to the Governor’s mandates, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas School Security Center have implemented new measures across the entire state for school districts to comply with. The TEA and the TxSSC have handed school districts audits to implement over the summer before the start of the school year.
In the required school security audits, TEA in the TxSSC are mandating local education agencies to conduct school security audits and building structure audits to determine the safety and resilience of the school.
“If a school district fails to satisfactorily submit an [Emergency Operation Plan], they are required by state law to hold a meeting to notify the public of their noncompliance,” says Governor Abbott. “If they fail to do that, the TEA can take over school leadership and ensure the district takes these responsibilities seriously.”
These audits have to do with school security infrastructure training and resources the auditing and surveys have to be done and completed by the beginning of September.
The TEA and TxSSC are hoping to gather the amount of funding necessary to the Texas legislature for schools in the state of Texas who need it for updated security.
Additionally, throughout the summer the TEA and the TXSSC will be conducting random school security audits in order to see if school districts are complying with the new mandates. The TEA is also hoping to survey all school districts and the majority of schools in the state of Texas. They will be checking if there are any weak links and security malfunctions or deteriorating to school security.
However, not everyone in Texas Education believes the direction the state is taking is good. The Texas State Teachers Association has spoken out on these new measures, believing it covers up the need for gun-legislation
TSTA President Ovidia Molina stated, “Guns kill people, including school children and educators, and there are too many guns out there in the possession of dangerous people. It doesn’t take more committees to figure that out.”
The role of school security is taking a turn after the events of Uvalde. As more information unravels in terms of the police response, and the gun-control debate is skyrocketing, educators are having to assess how to keep kids in the school system safe.
[Story by Jacob Lehrer]