The Texas Education Agency (TEA) proposed on Thursday that public schools in the state implement a new series of security measures to harden campuses against violent attacks, like the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde back in May.
The proposal calls for installing panic buttons in classrooms and twice-yearly maintenance on two-way radio equipment used by campus police officers and first responders. It also requires all school doors and windows to be locked and monitored.
Funding for the upgrades will come from state taxpayer coffers. Governor Greg Abbott and other state leaders announced last month that the TEA would receive $400 million in funding for upgrading doors, windows, communications equipment, exterior fencing, and other security measures, according to the TEA.
Additionally, school districts can draw from a state taxpayer grant pool to buy silent panic alert technologies for campuses. These technologies would allow district staff or faculty to manually press a button or use an app to signal a life-threatening emergency, like an active shooter or intruder, to law enforcement and first responders.
Many of the proposed security hardening measures were directly inspired by some of the failures at Robb Elementary.
Pete Arredondo, former police chief for the Uvalde school district, had stated that even before the mass shooting in May, he was aware that police radios did not often work inside campus buildings.
Faulty door security also figured into the tragedy earlier this year. The shooter at Uvalde gained access to the elementary school via an unlocked exterior door. However, it is still unclear how the door was able to be opened by the killer.
The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed requirements between November 11 to December 12 before the Texas Registrar receives a final version for publication.