As Texas approaches the one year anniversary since the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde that took the lives of 19 children and two children, the Texas House has passed legislation that would require schools to have armed security guards.
House Bill 3 by State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock) would require school districts to use funds allocated under the bill to provide training to an armed security officer employed by the district. It would also allow school districts to obtain school safety technologies including video-analytic firearm detection and alerting systems.
The bill also amends the education code to require an armed security officer stating, “The board of trustees of each school district shall determine the appropriate number of armed security officers for each district campus. The board must ensure at least one armed security officer is present during regular school hours at each district campus.”
“The Uvalde school shooting stole precious children and teachers from their families and made it clear that the state of Texas must make fundamental changes in the way we protect our school communities,” said Burrows. “That is why House Bill 3 requires an armed security guard on the campus of every public and open enrollment charter school in the state.”
The bill would also require school district leadership to meet regularly with their law enforcement counterparts to discuss any emergency preparedness and action plans needed to keep students safe. It would also appoint an agency monitor who will monitor school districts compliance with safety and security measures annually in accordance with criteria developed by the agency in consultation with the Texas School Safety Center.
During the reading on the house floor, State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D–Richardson) argued that expecting a teacher to confront and neutralize an active shooter is unrealistic and absurd. However, Burrows shot back saying that this is a false narrative and that the bill doesn’t arm teachers.
Indeed, the text states that the board of trustees may employ or contract with security personnel or enter into a memorandum of understanding with a local law enforcement agency. It also requires anyone who carries to have the appropriate amount of training completed before being allowed to carry on school premises.
Burrows also shared that families families and teachers from Uvalde said they wanted to be able to have a security officer or be armed.
“Some of the messages we had from the classroom teachers were that they wanted themselves to be able to have security officers or be armed or have protection,” Burrows said. “We did hear from several of the teachers who were across the halls who had bullets come into their classrooms and asked that we take the message back to Austin.”
Alongside Burrows’ bill, House Bill 13 authored by State Rep. Ken King (R–Canadian) would incentivize schools to allow a school district or open-enrollment charter school employee to carry a weapon for the purpose of providing safety and security on school grounds or a passenger transportation vehicle of the school.
The legislation would also require the employee to take a school sentinel training program before being allowed to carry or possess a weapon. The employees will also be required to wear a designated marking or uniform that identifies to a law enforcement agency that the employee is a school guardian.
Both bills passed the House and are awaiting committee assignments in the Senate.
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