Twelve days after the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has outlined a plan to address gun violence in Texas public schools.
Reporter Claire McInerny covers education for KUT Austin. She says Abbott staged his announcements in two Texas cities; Dallas and the central Texas city of San Marcos. The latter is significant because Abbott has praised the school district and Hays County for providing training that prepares staff for an active-shooter situation.
Abbott’s plan allocates $120 million to provide preventive services; support for school counselors, telemedicine, and other avenues for students to obtain mental health support. He says he will seek additional funding later.
McInerny says Abbott emphasized his support for gun rights, and that he doesn’t want guns to find their way into the hands of criminals.
“One of the things is changing a law that says if you have a child under 17, you have to lock your guns up, and you could be charged with any acts they do with your gun,” McInerny says. “He wants to change that age to 18.”
McInerny says the legislature would need to make that change to the law.
Abbott wants new alarm systems in schools that differ from fire alarms. In Santa Fe, students pulled fire alarms to alert others of danger, but when people came into school hallways, some were shot.
“He also wants to put more law enforcement in schools,” McInerny says. “not necessarily school resource officers, but local police departments spending some time in schools throughout the week.”
In addition to the $120 million Abbott is allocating immediately, the governor said he has discussed federal grants with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. More funding would come from the legislature, whose next regular session is in 2019.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.