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State Lawmakers Begin Unpacking Abbott's School Safety Recomendations

Ryan E. Poppe

Senate lawmakers are ready to begin unpacking some of the school safety recommendations released by the governor’s office after the Santa Fe school shooting.

Similar to its House counterpart, the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Safety will examine some of the governor’s recommendations Monday that require legislative approval during the 2019 legislative session.

One of those suggestions involves changing schools' infrastructure and design, including limiting access points and retrofitting campuses with improved locks, metal detectors and security cameras.

“So the conceptual idea behind it is the access-control visitor management,” said Joe McKenna is with the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University, one of the groups asked to participate in the governor’s roundtable discussions on school safety. “The implementation of it becomes, ‘OK, so how are we going to control access, how are we going to manage people who are supposed to be in our schools?' “

But McKenna said how that is done should be a decision made by individual school districts because safety and security needs can vary from district to district.

The Texas Education Agency has asked schools to get a jump start on the governor’s safety plan over the summer.  

A letter sent to schools Friday notified them of a number of free training opportunities, including a grant for teachers to become armed school marshals.

The Senate select-committee will begin receiving both invited and public testimony, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Capitol on Monday.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1