Training Center Prepares Texas Schools For Campus Violence
Following the Columbine school shooting in 1999, the Texas legislature established the Texas School Safety Center which trains school personnel on how to prevent and respond to crises.
State law now requires each of the more than 1,100 Texas school districts to create an emergency operation plan for how to respond to everything from a fire, to a tornado, to a gunman on campus.
The school plans are filed with the Center in San Marcos and updated every three years.
Associate Director Jennifer Steele says the Center encourages students and staff to role play and practice.
“Many of them practice lock downs and bus evacuation,” said Steele.
“Many of them partner with agencies in their communities and local first responders to conduct full-scale exercises and practice what would happen in the case of a large emergency where we needed to pull in other community resources outside of the school,” she said.
The Texas School Safety Center says an effective school emergency plan includes specifics on when and how a campus should be locked down, how staff should respond and who should be notified.
Steele says it’s also vital to develop clear guidelines for who will have access to school property.
The Texas Attorney General and the Texas School Safety Center have produced a video, "When Seconds Count," that includes steps for reacting to an armed intruder on campus.