DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Since the Santa Fe high school shooting, state leaders have been working on ways to improve school security.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hosted roundtable discussions the week after the deadly shooting. He spoke with lawmakers, educators, students and parents about how to make improvements. Afterwards, he released a “School and Firearm Safety Plan.” He made the following recommendations:
*Increasing the number of school marshals
*Coordination with local law enforcement
*Behavioral threat assessments
*Mental health first aid
*Additional school safety trainings
*Federal funding from Title 4, Part A.
In response to the governor’s school security plan, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath released a letter outlining ways educators can act on the recommendations over the summer so that when students come back to school, they notice changes.
Danny Defenbaugh, who spent 33 years with the FBI before creating his own security consulting and investigation business, has done several security vulnerability assessments at schools across North Texas. He said there’s some well thoughtout substance in Morath’s letter.
He highlights two recommendations in particular. First, the focus on mental health. Educators are being urged to take an eight hour course that teaches them signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use disorders.
“They recognized the problem, the issue,” Defenbaugh said. “I think that number one is the goal. If you look at all the other rest of the states no where else am I seeing to where that’s being brought forward as an issue and quite frankly it’s always been an issue!”
On top of that, Defenbaugh applauds the call for additional school safety training.
The Texas School Safety Center to offer courses focusing on planning practices that include identifying threats, hazards and vulnerabilities in schools.
“Every one of these schools are completely different so if you don’t know where your vulnerabilities are you can’t defend,” Defenbaugh said.
Defenbaugh said there is no foolproof solution to ending school violence, but these recommendations are a good start. He believes some of them stand out more than others.