In the wake of the recent shooting at a Uvalde elementary school, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced a plan to put security officers in every Texas school cafeteria.

According to Miller, when the modern phenomenon of school shootings began, the cafeteria became a main target.

“Twenty-three years ago, when this modern-day madness began at Columbine High School in Colorado, the killers targeted the school cafeteria with bombs. When the bombs failed to detonate, the murderers opened fire with their guns. School cafeterias remain a large point of vulnerability in any school,” said Miller.

The cafeteria is also an area the Department of Agriculture can affect, given their oversight of school lunches.

Now, with the uptick in violence in schools, Miller says he and his team are looking for solutions to keep teachers and students safe while at school.

His plan not only calls for putting security guards in the cafeteria during mealtimes, but also expanding the marshal program, where school employees can be appointed as armed security guards in the absence of law enforcement.

“Further, I encourage our Legislature to revisit House Bill 1009, which presently allows Texas school districts to appoint marshals to guard school premises,” added Miller, noting that while the majority of large Texas high schools already have a form of security, most Texas elementary schools do not.

“This makes no sense, especially considering the recent tragedy at Robb Elementary, as well as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly a decade ago. Our elementary school students are our most vulnerable students. We must do everything we can to ensure their safety and security.”

Miller says he plans to work with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud to develop strategies at both state and federal levels to address the issue of arming our schools.

“Our children’s safety should be our only priority as we move forward from these dreadful and tragic circumstances. I welcome anyone who is willing to work with us at the Texas Department of Agriculture to seek solutions to this large and complex problem. We owe it to our kids to get this right.”

Emily Wilkerson

Emily is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, studying journalism with a minor in political science. She enjoys investigative journalism and making sure that every side of a story is being told.