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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Governor Abbott Orders Random School Safety Inspections

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Governor Abbott speaking at a press conference. | Image by Veronica Cardenas, Reuters

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Governor Greg Abbott moved to strengthen school security by ordering state officials to randomly inspect Texas schools to assess their resiliency in the face of an armed intruder.

His decision follows the murder of 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.

On Wednesday, June 1, Abbott directed the Texas School Safety Center to contact every school district in the state and instruct them to convene their School Safety and Security Committees to review existing emergency protocols and implement any necessary training.

In a letter to TxSSC director Kathy Martinez-Prather, Governor Abbott stressed that the state must “ensure that a culture of constant vigilance is engrained in every campus and in every school district employee across the state.”

To further that end, Abbott instructed TxSSC to confer with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop a plan for conducting random school inspections to ensure the districts comply with state-mandated “Emergency Operations Plans.” 

Additionally, he ordered TxSSC and TEA to “begin conducting in-person, unannounced, random intruder detection audits on school districts.” The audits would require agency staff to attempt to approach campuses without detection, find “weak points,” and see how fast they can enter buildings without being stopped.

Governor Abbott also ordered Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan to convene special legislative committees to study school safety and mass violence and to come up with recommendations for the state legislature on how to deal with them.

The governor’s directives met with criticism from some quarters. Several legislators had called on Abbott to convene a special session so the legislature could take action instead of just discussing the issues in committee.

Abbott’s gubernatorial challenger, Beto O’Rourke, tweeted, “Anyone can call for a committee. Only a governor can call a special session. Do your job.”

Others feel, however, that Abbott should wait to call a special session until the Texas Rangers and F.B.I. conclude their investigations into the police response to the Uvalde shooting, per Austin American-Statesman.

State Representative Jeff Leach defended Governor Abbott, tweeting, “This is absolutely the right step by [Governor Abbott]. Legislative committees should be convened to discuss and deliberate on these issues in public and to make recommendations to the entire [legislature].”

The Texas legislature’s regular legislative session will not convene until January 2023.

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margaret barrett
margaret barrett
3 months ago

There was an SRO assigned to Robb school but else where at the time of entry. Is the SRO armed, I don’t know but surely no match for an AR15. The back door entry was because whoever went out/in last didn’t check to see if the lock engaged. The entered classroom was not locked before the shooter entered because perhaps the teacher was doing her best to convince the children of an active shooter, not a drill, episode. The shooter then entered and locked the door keeping any and all outside. The police had to wait an hour, give or take, for a key. There is no master key? Why was tear gas not lobbed through the classroom window? Might harm the children? All the safety features were there, just not utilized. Why did the police who chased the shooter to the school after the truck went into the ditch not shoot the legs off this kid before entry? He did have his gun in plain view and it wasn’t for show and tell. Please remove all AR15’s from the civilians and leave them in the hands of the military where they belong. Come November vote for those who want better gun control. Gov. Abbott says we are not Chicago. I got news for you sir, with your open carry no training law, our police blotters are full of gun related headlines. How many more children must we lose between now and November? 🙁