Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a series of roundtable discussions a couple of weeks ago to receive feedback from a variety of invested people in how Texas can improve the safety of its schools. Shortly after, he released a report titled the School and Firearm Safety Action Plan. The plan consists of 40 initiatives mostly focused on hardening the security of Texas schools.
In the plan is:
- How to make schools safer.
- Identifying threats and addressing them.
- Improving mental health services.
Governor Abbott says he wants to see many of the strategies implemented immediately and others will have to go through the legislative process. He will allot $100 million toward the plan. $70 million is already available, but the rest will need to come from federal and other types of funding.
Governor Abbott unveiled the plan in Dallas stating, “This plan is a starting point, not an ending place. It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school.”
The 40 strategies include:
- Adding more police and armed guards in schools
- Expand programs that identify students at risk
- Install active shooter alarms
- Limit entrances and exits in schools
- Raise the child protection law (keep guns away from) from 17 to 18
- Improve the way Texas submits names to the NICS
- Pass a “red flag” law
- Implement a zero-tolerance policy for students who make threats or assault teachers
- Extent the list of expellable offenses
- Make it mandatory to add new names to NICS within 48 hours of a status change
- Promote the use of gun locks
- Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns
- Install monitoring security systems
- Move administration offices close to the main doors and create barriers with remotely locking and unlocking doors
- Put phones or two-way radios in every classroom
- Secure $62.1 million in federal funds to help improve school safety
- Establish a School Safety Committee
- Increase mental health services and availability
- Increase mental health training
- Free up counselor’s time to serve students
- Create two counselor positions—academic and mental health
- Expand the Crime Stoppers program
- Make reporting of threats easier
- Greater law enforcement presence on school campuses
- Hire retire law enforcement and military as School Resource Officers and School Marshals
- Implement a program to train veterans to be School Marshals
- Active Shooter Response training
- Train for School Marshals—armed teachers and administration
- Improve and redesign schools to reduce safety threats
- Install metal detectors, deadbolt doors and create greater control of doors