The unfortunate reality of being a 21st century educator is addressing the topic of school shootings. That message hit too close to home for Texans in May 2018 when a gunman killed 10 at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area.
Within two weeks Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-point “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan” that proposed changes to state laws and practices.
“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” said Governor Abbott in May. “This plan will make our schools safer and our communities safer.”
Portions of the governor's plan, such as training for teachers and school officials, was put in place over the summer and other parts of the plan can now be executed after the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced it was awarded $2 million in school safety grants.
Governor Abbott's Plan to Improve School Safety
Highlights of this 40-point plan include:
TEA Awarded Grants For School Safety
Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced on Oct. 8 that TEA had been awarded two Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act federal grants. Each $1 million grant will be used to establish effective campus threat assessments and support mental health training for Texas school districts.
Highlights of the two grants include:
- Statewide School Violence and Mental Health Training Program: Texas school districts can receive mental health training for staff and administrators. The training will serve students need, while providing awareness and connections to needed mental health services. Initial grants will be made available to the Alpine, Italy and Santa Fe independent school districts. Additional school districts will be added to the grant program through a competitive application process over the next two years.
- School Threat Assessment Teams: Grant will support the statewide development, implementation and operation of school threat assessment teams. The training program, which will be a collaborative effort between TEA, the Texas School Safety Center and SIGMA Threat Management, will provide school personnel with the skills to recognize, respond quickly to and prevent acts of violence.
“Texas remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for every student on every public school campus across our state,” according to Commissioner Morath in a release. “By focusing on these two key areas of mental health and preventative measures, we strengthen our state’s ongoing commitment to school safety.”