school safety | KERA News

school safety

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

Wylie Independent School District prepares for armed intruders in a variety of ways, from active shooter drills to safety-themed coloring books. Some school staff are trained to be armed marshals and are ready to shoot if there's a threat.

Lara Solt for KERA News

Across Texas and the country, many campuses conduct active shooter drills. Because school shootings are often perpetrated by students who attend those schools, some raise a concern: Do these drills give potential shooters too much inside information? 

A group of law enforcement officers told Texas senators today that they don't think the governor's plan to “harden” schools is the best way to keep students safe.

“Give us more campus officers,” Joe Curiel, police chief for San Antonio Independent School District Police Department, told the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security.

Texas Launches Mobile App To Help People Report Suspicious Activity

Jun 9, 2018
John Jordan/The Texas Tribune

A new mobile app launched after a southeast Texas high school shooting last month will allow Texans to report on suspicious activity happening in their own communities and schools. 

The Trump administration's school safety commission held its first public listening session Wednesday, a day after the panel's chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the commission wouldn't focus on guns.

Alessia Modjarrad, a graduating high school senior from Montgomery County, Md., spoke at the day-long event at the Education Department in D.C. She said the few solutions being offered by the administration were "misguided and insufficient."

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two days after Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-page school safety plan, Texas House and Senate leaders ordered their committees to study ways to limit shootings and increase protections in Texas public schools before students return in August.

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to curb school shootings has embraced an idea championed by an El Paso Democrat, State Rep. Joe Moody. The idea is called a “red flag law.”

Moody says his proposed legislation calls for a mechanism by which a person who is in crisis, and poses an eminent danger to themselves or others when guns are present, would lose access to their firearms. He says similar laws exist in other states, and at the federal level.

Gabriel C. Perez / KUT News

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday offered several immediate and long-term strategies to improve school safety in Texas. 

After the Columbine school shooting in 1999, the Texas Legislature created the School Safety Center, a research center at Texas State University that helps schools prepare for different kinds of disasters.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Thursday was an uneasy day for schools in Dallas and others across the country. Two days after Los Angeles schools closed down because of threats, districts in Dallas, Houston and Florida decided to stay open after receiving similar threats.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The school bus of the future is here for kids in Dallas County Schools. At first glance, you may notice nothing new. But there are security cameras inside and out, a GPS tracker and alerts, seatbelts -- and even a thumbprint ID scanner.

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The shooting left 20 students and six adults dead. It also caused school districts and lawmakers across the country to re-examine security protocols in schools – including Texas. 

“When you talk about Sandy Hook Elementary and what happened that day – I think that a lot of people believe that it created or caused a reaction by law enforcement, first responders – that somehow changed from what we had been doing," says Austin School District Police Chief Eric Mendez.

In Dallas at least, school zone lights have been flashing this week, and some cars have even slowed down to the required 20 mph. But hitting the brakes is not required yet, say school officials. That’s because school isn’t in session until this coming Monday.

The legal, slower speed limit is not in force until then. Apparently, officials activate the lights in advance to make sure the flashers work and to remind drivers that school’s about to start. But come Monday, tickets will be issued.

dagnyg / flickr.com

A bill creating school marshals is headed to the Governor for his signature. The state Senate gave final approval to the bill today.

Highland Park ISD

Highland Park High School officials say they’re continuing with the school day despite the discovery of another threatening note.

Highland Park ISD

A Highland Park High School student found a handful of .22 caliber bullet shells in a bathroom Wednesday, and the school's 2,000 students were sent home early for the second consecutive day.

Starting today, Dallas drivers who pass a school bus with the ‘stop arm’ activated will get a $300 ticket in the mail. The grace period is over – no more ‘warnings’ when cameras on the school buses catch violators.