A public school safety measure in Texas that mandates that select district workers get mental health training and that all schools have a minimum of one armed security guard on duty during normal school hours was advanced by state legislators this week.
Just over a year had passed when House Bill 3 was enacted by both houses in response to the third-deadliest mass shooting at a school in American history, which saw a lone shooter murder 19 students and two instructors at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Representative Ken King (R-Canadian) said, “It is time to act,” as reported by The Texas Tribune. “We must stop the next Uvalde.”
While Democratic senators expressed worries about the budget and deploying armed protection on school grounds, King and other Texas state Republicans welcomed the package.
According to the Tribune, Representative Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) remarked that “the possibility for catastrophic repercussions is staggering.”
The comprehensive proposal contains a number of procedures and other requirements to safeguard teachers, staff, and students throughout the Lone Star State against active shooter threats.
Peace officers, school resource officers, school marshals, or staff members of the school district may be eligible to serve as armed security guards on each campus, according to the proposed legislation. The law would also mandate that school staff members who often engage with kids undergo “evidence-based mental wellness first aid classes.”
The measure gives the Texas Education Agency the power to establish safety and security divisions, mandates that the agency undertake yearly campus risk assessments, and calls for the agency to alert parents about “violent activity.”
Additionally mandated by the measure, regional safety teams would be required to yearly inspect the campuses of school districts for general intruder detection on-site.
Every five years, a review would be done by the Texas School Safety Center, a research center at Texas State University, to verify that schools have the finest practices as well as security measures in place.
Additionally, counties with less than 350,000 residents must require county sheriff’s agencies to have semi-annual meetings to review school safety in addition to law enforcement’s reaction to “violent incidents.”
Following the “chaotic, disorganized scene” when almost 400 law enforcement personnel from various agencies rushed to the school massacre in Uvalde, the Tribune claims that law enforcement must also guarantee that all radio communications function effectively.
According to the Tribune, Representative Carrie Isaa (R-Dripping Springs) said that “This is an enormous victory for the safety of all of our children.”
Now, House Bill 3 is on its way to being signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R).