Gun Restrictions Not Included in School Safety Recommendations to Lege

The Texas State Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Safety, appointed following the May shooting at Santa Fe High School, released its final recommendations today, and gun control proposals are not among them, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

There had been talk that lawmakers would recommend the expansion of so called Red Flag Laws, where family members, police, and school officials could ask a judge to remove weapons from an otherwise law abiding citizens out of concern that they 'might' commit a crime.

The Senators instead urged the Legislature when it meets in January to focus on several key issues:•Review  the  effectiveness  and  unintended  consequences  of  "zero  tolerance"  polices  in  Texas schools. 

•Consider methods to increase the availability of school counselors, Licensed Specialists in  School  Psychology, and  school  social  workers  in schools,  particularly  in  rural  and  remote areas of the state. 

•Consider  legislation  codifying  the  duties  and  responsibilities  of  school  counselors,  Licensed Specialists in School Psychology, and school social workers.

•Consider  legislation  incorporating  threat  assessment  teams  into  Health  Advisory  or School Safety Committees already on campus.

•Expand  the  availability  of  Mental  Health  First  Aid  training  for  all  school  district  employees interacting with students.  

•Review the use of Disciplinary Alternative Placement Education Programs (DAEP) and consider behavior intervention methods

Lawmakers will also consider allocating more funding for armed school marshals and expanding the program where teachers are allowed to carry weapons under certain circumstances.

When it comes to guns, lawmakers recommended only two minor moves:

•Consider legislation to clarify current statute on whether and when an individual convicted of domestic violence may possess a firearm legally.

•Consider legislation to clarify current statute regarding the return of firearms to individuals who have been detained and declared to no longer be a risk to themselves or others.  

Lawmakers will also consider programs to install metal detectors at schools, change the architecture of schools that would make it harder for people to bypass security, and programs to encourage local police officers to walk through school buildings as part of their regular rounds.

“In addition to the immediate steps that I have presented to school superintendents to help enhance the security of school entrances and exits, this report will help us develop legislation for a comprehensive school security effort to meet the increased challenges we face today," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who appointed the committee.  "School security will be a top priority for me in the upcoming legislative session. My goal is for every parent to know their child is safe in their school and for no child to feel afraid. The Select Committee’s report will help us begin work in the next session to reach that goal.”   

The report did not indicate how these proposals will be funded.  All of them will have to be debated by the full Legislature when it meets in January.

READ the entire report:


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