Texas Teachers Say $5.7 Million School Safety Grant Helps, But Only In The Short Term

The Texas State Teachers Association says the state needs to find a long-term plan to address school safety and violence once the grant runs out.

By Jill AmentAugust 24, 2018 1:30 pm,

Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday: He’s awarding $5.7 million in school safety grants. Much of it will go to the city of Santa Fe and its school district, which was devastated by a campus shooting in May. And a portion of that money is allocated for mental health services.

Noel Candelaria, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, says while educators and parents are happy that the state is responding in the aftermath of the Santa Fe school shooting just months ago, more needs to be done.

“Our government is being responsive, but at the end of the day, it’s still a grant…once the grant funding runs out, then the city and the district are left to continue it,” Candelaria says.

Candelaria says the Santa Fe School District received $322,000 and plans to use it to hire mental health professionals. But he says that likely won’t address the problem longterm.

“For the district to hire mental health professionals…the $322,000 is not gonna go very far for very long. That’s why we want to make sure that we’re talking about long-term, sustainable funding during the upcoming legislative session.”

In the short term, Candelaria says he is noticing apprehension among teachers as the new school year gets underway. At a recent back-to-school event, a noisemaker scared some teachers who mistook it for gunfire.

“Immediately you could feel the tension in the room and everyone got quiet,” Candelaria says.

Candelaria says the grant gives comfort to those in Santa Fe, but there’s still a lot of uneasiness in Texas schools in general because districts don’t have the resources to adequately address school safety and school violence.

Written by Caroline Covington.