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Lt. Gov. Patrick Seeks Funding for School Safety and Mental Health

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Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick | Image by The Texas Tribune

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Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick sent a letter to Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) on Monday about school safety and mental health issues. Specifically, the letter is about “addressing the needs of the state to work toward a day when senseless acts of violence like those in Uvalde do not happen again.”

Patrick thanked Phelan for acting “immediately” to approve $50 million to supply school law enforcement with ballistic shields, adding the $50 million is “just the first down payment.”

“This is just the beginning of the process of appropriately equipping all law enforcement with another important tool to provide a speedy response to any threat,” wrote Patrick. “As we move forward this will require additional funds to ensure all officers across the state will have immediate access to these shields. This will need to be part of our base budget.”

The letter continued by outlining several items the lieutenant governor believes will also require funds before the school year restarts in August.

To address mental health, Patrick wrote that the state should expand Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) statewide, increase the number of Multisystemic Teams (MST), and expand Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) teams across the state.

The lieutenant governor called explicitly for two new CSC teams, including one in the San Antonio area with the capacity to serve Uvalde.

Concerning school safety, Patrick wrote that the state needs to provide increased funding for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), the Texas School Safety Center, and school districts to allow for the purchase of silent panic alert technology.

“I am prepared to sign off on these items listed below that we can fund now for the upcoming school year,” Patrick wrote.

Lt. Gov. Patrick also opined that there is a need to address money for fusion centers, automatic locking doors that have alarms when opened, and metal detectors.

“These are items that I believe all members in both chambers want and deserve to have their voices heard in upcoming hearings and during the upcoming legislative session,” Patrick said. “I look forward to working on all these matters with you.”

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Robert Coleman
Robert Coleman
3 months ago

The Lt. Gov’s letter starts by saying the letter is about “addressing the needs of the state to work toward a day when senseless acts of violence like those in Uvalde do not happen again.” Yet the only thing to address the issue is perhaps more mental health screening. However not even that will stop “senseless acts of violence” in our schools unless background checks are expanded and all information is made available to be includes in those background checks. As for doing anything to stop shooters from getting to schools, there is nothing in the Lt. Gov.’s plan. All he provides is for after the shooter is in the school, but nothing to stop the shooter before he starts. He wants to provide bulletproof shields for the new police that no school district has the money to pay for; that is to protect only the new police after the shooter is in a school, it does little to nothing for the children or teachers. And if he continues to insist that teachers be armed all he will do is get the teachers shot first, because the shooters will know they might have a gun. Of course, more than likely the teachers’ guns will need to be kept locked in their desk to prevent kids from getting them and becoming shooters themselves. We need legislation that stops shooter from coming to schools, by preventing them from getting their gun of choice – the AR-15 type weapons. We need laws to require waiting periods before a gun purchased can be delivered to allow gunmen to get over being angry and wanting to shoot people or to give the police time to be notified and intervene. We need to stop shooters from having the ability to fire 30 or 50 or 100 shells in less than a minute or two. Sandy Hook taught us that lots of children can escape in a matter of seconds if given the chance. The Lt. Gov. is doing nothing to show that he cares about the children; he is still showing that he cares more about guns, gun manufacturers, and gun owners than our children and grandchildren.