Governor Abbott Announces Full Compliance With School Safety Directives
$853,000 Grant For Texas School Safety Center Awarded
Governor Greg Abbott today announced that all Texas school districts and public junior college districts are in compliance with recent state required safety and security audits. These audits were part of the action ordered by the Governor to address and ensure the safety of students in Texas schools and public junior colleges. In letters to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Commissioner Raymund Paredes, Governor Abbott outlined a number of steps to help Texas respond to and prevent school safety threats.
"As the country still mourns the tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Texas is taking action to ensure the safety of students in our public schools," said Governor Abbott. "Every student deserves a safe and secure environment to learn and grow, and I am pleased that our school districts and public junior college districts are meeting these important standards. I thank Commissioners Morath and Paredes, as well as the Texas School Safety Center, for this collaborative effort to boost school safety in Texas, and I look forward to continuing our work on this important issue."
The Office of the Governor today also announced $853,000 in funding for the Texas School Safety Center to assist Texas schools with preventing school violence, substance abuse, and bullying. Additionally, these funds will be used to help develop specialized training for school-based law enforcement that delivers training to prevent violent crimes, improve officer-student relations, and assist with improved student learning. This grant will ensure that the Texas School Safety Center will be fully funded and operational through August 31, 2019.
“I know how seriously our educators take the safety of every student in the classroom, protecting them as they would their own children,” said Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. “Gov. Abbott shares that commitment to safety in our Texas public schools. Confirming all districts and campuses have completed the statutorily required school safety audits ensures the proper precautions are in place statewide.”
“The Coordinating Board shares Gov. Abbott’s sense of urgency in ensuring the safety of Texas public junior colleges. While Texas has statutes and infrastructure in place regarding safety planning and auditing, ensuring rigorous compliance is essential. We are pleased that all community colleges are now in compliance regarding their 2015 safety audits, and we are working with the community colleges and the Texas School Safety Center to ensure that they fully satisfy their obligations for the 2018 security audit cycle,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund A. Paredes.
“The safety and security audit process in our state is critical to ensuring that districts regularly assess their facilities and address any vulnerabilities or areas for improvement in a timely manner,” said Kathy Martinez-Prather, Director of the Texas School Safety Center. “As part of a comprehensive school safety program, districts should be conducting on-going assessments of their facilities to identify and address gaps in their safety programs. The Texas School Safety Center remains committed to serving as the central clearinghouse for schools to provide best practices toward enhancing school safety and security measures across Texas,” said Martinez-Prather.