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March 24, 2023
Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants state officials to inspect schools at random to check security protocols. This announcement comes after a gunman broke into a Uvalde elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers.
In a letter Wednesday, Abbott instructed the director of the Texas School Safety Center to work with the state education agency to conduct security checks.
“Your team should begin conducting in-person, unannounced, random intruder detection audits on school districts,” Abbott wrote to Kathy Martinez-Prather. “Staff should approach campuses to find weak points and how quickly they can penetrate buildings without being stopped.”
Abbott on Wednesday also called for lawmakers to convene special legislative committees to investigate what legislation and measures could be taken to prevent future school shootings. He explained that the focus is on mental health, social networking, police training and firearms safety.
Abbott asked the school safety center to work with the legislature to develop recommendations for improving security systems and to determine what funding will be needed.
“This issue will no doubt be at the forefront of the next Legislative Session,” he wrote. “You have my full support to make recommendations for consideration by the Legislature.”
Some officials immediately rejected the governor’s plan for random in-person inspections.
“So you want grown men to show up to schools unannounced and try as hard as they can to find a way in?” Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) wrote on Twitter. “This is a terrible idea.”
Abbott said he expects the safety and security committees of each district to meet this summer to review their procedures before the next school year, and to evaluate all of their procedures for access to the school, including door locks and registration protocols. He asked for a report on the progress of the districts by October 1. Districts that don’t comply with the safety measures will be held accountable, Abbott added.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMBERG