Texas Governor Orders Immediate Security Changes at Schools, Colleges
Governor Greg Abbott wrote the directives to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency regarding student safety.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott outlined steps the state’s education leaders must take to tighten school security following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
On Wednesday, Abbott sent a letter to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Commissioner Raymund Paredes, ordering immediate action to address and ensure the safety of Texas’ public junior college campuses, reports The Caller Times.
“We must act expeditiously and prudently to ensure that college campuses in Texas are safe places to study, work, and live,” Abbott wrote in the letter. “These are important first steps to ensuring that junior college districts are meeting all requirements and have the best information available to help keep their campuses safe.”
The directive calls on the board to:
- Catalog and share all available information from the Texas School Safety Center (TSSC) on college campus safety. The information must be distributed to all public junior college districts and universities and private and proprietary institutions of higher education.
- Ensure all public junior college districts are in compliance with statutorily required school safety audits and multi-hazard emergency operations plans.
- Publish a list of any public junior college districts that do not satisfy the requirements of their 2015 audit through the THECB website and agency press releases.
- Guarantee all public junior college districts have made satisfactory progress towards completion of their statutorily required security and safety audits by September 15, 2018.
- Work with TSSC, the Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s office to draft recommendations to the Texas Legislature on policy changes to keep students safe.
Similarly, one week earlier, Abbott wrote a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath, ordering immediate action be taken to address student safety at all K-12 schools.
“I mourn the loss of 17 Floridians in a cruel and senseless act of violence,” read the letter. “Immediate steps must be taken to keep our students and communities safe, with the understanding that more will be expected in the future.”
The directive also requires the cataloging and sharing of school safety programs to all school districts, charter schools, private schools and childcare providers to ensure all have access to the most up-to-date information regarding strategies to protect students.
It also requires that all public schools complete school safety audits and submit them to the Texas School Safety Center. Schools that do not complete the requirements must be published on the Texas Education Agency website.
Morath says he has directed TEA staff to begin “full implementation of his directives.”
The letter to Morath came one day after Abbott stated more action needs to be taken at the federal level to close loopholes in the required background check systems for gun buyers and to identify mental health issues that could lead to gun violence.
Read More Articles Like This… With A FREE Subscription
Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!