TX Expands School Safety Bill Near Shooting Anniversary

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The Texas House expanded a sweeping school safety bill that now calls for students to learn about domestic violence prevention, requires training for school resource officers, and would provide money for campus security measures and mental health initiatives, the Texas Tribune reports. Some additions to the Senate bill revived the language or intent of House bills that were presumed dead after they failed to gain traction throughout the legislative session that ends Monday. The bill is a response to last year’s deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School. The House approved bill in a 128-14 vote Tuesday. It now heads back to the Senate.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved its version last month. It would strengthen mental health initiatives in Texas schools and ensure school employees are equipped to respond to emergencies by requiring they have classroom access to a telephone and other electronic communication. It would also establish threat assessment teams to help identify potentially dangerous students and determine the best ways to intervene before they become violent. The revised bill stripped a Senate provision that offered loan repayment assistance to those who serve as school counselors and licensed specialists on school psychology. The lower chamber’s vote comes on near the anniversary of a shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 dead and another 13 wounded. Other school safety measures picking up steam include bills that would alter an existing state-sanctioned program to arm teachers, including one to abolish a state-sanctioned cap on how many trained school employees can carry guns on campus.

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