Texas — In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today urged school districts across Texas to review their safety plans and implored districts that have not submitted their school safety plans to make doing so a priority. The Texas School Safety Center reports that of the 1,025 public school districts that are required by law to submit their safety audits, 38 did not do so and another 40 reported but did not meet full compliance.
“Proper preparedness and safety in our schools is not just an exercise, it will save lives when seconds count,” said Attorney General Abbott, who is a board member of the Texas School Safety Center. “While we are saddened by the tragedy in Newtown, we can’t let another second tick by without getting school districts prepared to encounter the same type of situation in our state. My office will continue working with the Texas School Safety Center to ensure that every school district across this state has an effective school safety plan in place.”
The Texas Education Code requires that Texas public schools conduct safety audits once every three years. By requiring regular audits and emergency procedure practice sessions, schools and local law enforcement will be better prepared to act.
Abbott continued: “Having a plan is important, but executing that plan under stress – when seconds count – is critical to saving lives. Texas schoolchildren must be safe and secure. The difference between life and death frequently hinges upon how educators and law enforcement respond in the seconds before and after a violent incident. Campus security audits provide crucial information about the proper response during disaster situations.”
The Texas School Safety Center, created in 1999 in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy, provides schools with research, training and technical assistance to reduce youth violence and promote safety in Texas schools. As the state’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Abbott remains fully committed to ensuring students are protected from school violence.
In addition to calling on school districts to immediately comply with Texas statute, Attorney General Abbott is strongly encouraging Texas students, parents and school staff to report alarming behavior to authorities.