State Rep. Nate Schatzline, a Republican from Fort Worth, has filed two pieces of legislation he says will prioritize and increase safety measures in Texas public schools.
House Bill 1370 addresses the need for a single-entry point in schools for the public and ensures that all other external doors are locked and closed to entry. If a person should violate the law by knowingly opening an external door for someone or leaving it unattended, they are subject to a state jail felony.
“This will make our schools safer by limiting the access points, increase the level of accountability for people who put children at risk by not acting in accordance with this statute, and give more rights back to the parents,” Schatzline said.
House Bill 1371 would require an armed security officer who has been certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to be present on school property during regular school hours.
In 2013, Texas launched the School Marshal Program, which allowed schools to appoint employees with a valid license to carry and take a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement-approved course to carry in schools.
But since then, only 84 of more than 1,200 Texas school districts have implemented the program.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller also announced his own plan last summer to put security officers in every Texas school cafeteria, citing that cafeterias have become the main target since the beginning of school shootings.
Schatzline’s bills would go further, ensuring that certified security officers would monitor the entire school and give parents peace of mind while their children are at school.
“These two bills prioritize the protection of the next generation. The children of Texas are our greatest resource, and parents should be able to drop off their children at school with the confidence that they are safe from any and all threats to their safety,” Schatzline told Texas Scorecard.
Despite Schatzline’s attempt to make schools safer, Democrat State Rep. James Talarico (Round Rock) filed House Bill 36, which would remove security officers from schools and replace them with social-emotional learning coordinators.
Concerned citizens can contact their elected officials to ask how they will vote to protect students in public schools.