Texas Governor Expands Statewide School Safety Program After Uvalde Shooting

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter on Monday to expand a statewide safety training initiative after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School last month.

The Republican governor’s letter instructed Executive Director Dr. Pete Blair to provide rapid response training programs at all school districts across Texas.

“We sadly recognize we cannot do anything to bring back the precious lives that were taken; however, we must do everything in our power to prevent the same tragic ending from happening again,” Abbott wrote in the letter (pdf), dated Monday.

“An important part of these prevention efforts must focus on the proper training of law enforcement and school administrators on how to respond when they face the threat of an active shooter on their campus. This vital training, which is delivered by veteran first responders with proven experience in active attack response and police training, will help law enforcement on school campuses better respond to these situations,” he added.

Uvalde police officers
Police officers speak near a makeshift memorial for the shooting victims outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27, 2022. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

The training, Abbott added, must start before the 2022–2023 school year starts. The training will be done by veteran first responders who have experience in similar incidents, he said.

“I know that certified trainers within the Texas Department of Public Safety stand ready to help provide this life-saving training to campuses across the state as quickly as possible,” he wrote.

Several days ago, the governor ordered school safety officials to carry out “random intruder” audits of Texas’s public schools. Abbott also asked lawmakers to convene special legislative committees to look into what legislation can be passed to prevent future school shootings with a focus on social media, mental health, firearm safety, and police training.

“The State must work beyond writing words on paper and ensuring that the laws are being followed; it must also ensure that a culture of constant vigilance is engrained in every campus and in every school district employee across the state,” he said.

Texas has more than 1,000 public school districts and charter schools, which include 8,000 campuses and 672 million square feet, according to the National Council on School Facilities’ website.

It comes amid conflicting information that was released about the Uvalde shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead on May 24 at Robb Elementary. State and local officials have frequently changed the timeline and details about the law enforcement response, how long it took, and whether or not a teacher left a door propped open before shooter Salvador Ramos entered the school.

Late last week, a Texas state senator said school police chief Pete Arredondo did not have a radio during the time of the shooting. Authorities haven’t said how Arredondo was communicating with other officials at the scene.

From The Epoch Times