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Abbott says he wants enhanced school safety standards and schools to comply

Abbott wants more enhanced school safety standards, accountability to ensure schools comply
Abbott wants more enhanced school safety standards, accountability to ensure schools comply 01:15

GREENVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - In Greenville on Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott told CBS 11 school security laws passed by the Texas legislature following the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018 didn't measure up.

School safety and security are again top of mind this year after the deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde claimed the lives of 19 students and their two teachers. 

"We can see from what happened in Uvalde that in fact those laws either did not have teeth or they were not fully complied with," Abbott said. "And so we expect to do two things: One is, we expect to reach agreement on even more enhanced standards and ensure there's going to be teeth to it so there will be compliance. I'll add to that, we will ensure that there is going to be accountability at all levels through the process."

The Governor's comments come as school districts across Texas this month will open their doors to millions of students, their teachers, and other educators and staff.        

The school districts are required to perform checks of all exterior doors of each school and facility before the new year begins and then each week afterwards.

They must also complete partial safety audits.

During a State Senate Committee hearing in June, the Director of the Texas School Safety Center said they do not perform compliance checks at the schools themselves because they are unclear whether they have the authority to do so.

When asked by CBS 11 if that needs to change, Governor Abbott said, "It has changed. I made an announcement about how it will change, and there will be a forthcoming announcement soon about the fulfillment."

"Here's how it changed. I created a new position, the Chief School Safety Officer in the Texas Education Agency," Abbott said. "That person and their team will be in charge of ensuring that schools across the entire state of Texas will be in compliance. They will work alongside the Texas School Safety Center as well as the ALERRT program as well as local school ISD police and local police to make sure all these schools will be in compliance with the standards. We all agree on one thing: We want our schools to be safe. We agree we need to have the best safety standard programs in place and we agree those protocols need to be followed. We will execute on all three of those components."

Two Texas House Committees, the Youth Health & Safety, Select and Homeland Security & Public Safety, will hold their second joint hearing Monday, August 8.

Their first hearing took place in late June.

Last month, the Texas House Committee investigating the tragedy and the sharply criticized response by law enforcement issued a 77-page preliminary report.

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