AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Texas Education Agency and the Texas School Safety Center created a to-do list for Texas local education agencies to complete before the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, according to a recently published overview.
This comes after letters from Texas Governor Greg Abbott in early June, after the school shooting in Uvalde that led to the deaths of 21 people and drew national attention, which directed the TEA and TxSSC to create a set of actions aimed at collectively improving safety in Texas public schools.
As explained by the TEA, every local education agency in Texas must complete the list of state-mandated security initiatives for the new school year by Sept. 1, and verify with the TxSSC that those have been completed by Sept. 9.
Each local education agency must:
- Conduct a Summer Targeted Partial Safety Audit
- Conduct an Exterior Door Safety Audit
- Gather its Safety and Security Committee and review;
- The multi-hazard emergency operations plan
- The active threat plan, as a component of that emergency operations plan
- Ensure all campus staff, including substitutes, are trained on their specific safety procedures
- Schedule all mandatory drills for the upcoming school year
- Train all threat assessment team members
- Review and possibly update access control procedures,
- For the new year, those procedures must include exterior door sweeps to ensure they are closed and locked at least once per week at every instructional facility, while instruction is being conducted.
Further, the TEA said it will open a data collection in order to allow local education agencies to submit information on any facility components that do not comply with upcoming facility standards, along with the estimated costs for remedying the compliance. The TEA will then submit that information to the Texas Legislature in order to request funding to cover the compliance costs.
Also announced by the TEA, the 2019-2021 School Safety and Security Grant Notice of Grant Award end date was extended until June 15, 2023. The grant was created to provide funding to public schools, including the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the School for the Deaf, for:
- Exterior doors with push bars
- Metal detectors at school entrances
- Erected vehicle barriers
- Security systems that monitor and record school entrances, exits, and hallways
- Campus-wide active shooter alarm systems separate from fire alarms
- Two-way radio systems
- Perimeter security fencing
- Bullet-resistant glass or film for school entrances
- Door-locking systems
The TEA said that the last amendment deadline will be March 17, 2023, and the end of the grant will be June 15, 2023. The TEA Grant closeout will follow on July 30, 2023.
The TxSSC also published a letter for superintendents compiling need-to-know facts and resources in order to support compliance with the new measures.