Texas School Safety Report Steers Clear of Gun Control

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In a school safety report, Texas state senators this week recommended more funding to train and arm school personnel, but they did not endorse “red flag” protective orders that advocates say could help prevent more school shootings, reports the Dallas Morning News. The Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security did urge the state to provide more mental health resources to students by freeing school counselors from administrative chores and expanding “mental health first aid training” for school staff who interact with students. As expected, the report by the select group of senators also pushed for a “hardening” of campuses, with more funding for metal detectors. It also recommended that the Legislature examine whether to update school building codes “to ensure best practices are used in designing new school facilities.”

The report did not estimate the costs of the recommendations. Physical enhancements of school security have been a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who created the nine-member panel after after the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting that left 10 dead. Houston businessman Mike Collier, Patrick’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election, assailed the report. It shies away from recommending red flag laws, which would temporarily restrict access to firearms for people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others. The laws, passed in 11 other states, are effective, Collier said. Failing to promote them demonstrates that Patrick is “too tied to the gun lobby to even consider consequential steps to keep our kids safe,” he said.

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