Watch CBS News

Texas lawmakers file new bills aimed at improving school safety

Texas school safety bills would require armed guards on all campuses
Texas school safety bills would require armed guards on all campuses 03:11

AUSTIN (  Texas lawmakers have filed a variety of new bills this week that are designed to keep students and their teachers safe in school.

Three measures are considered priority legislation in both the House and Senate.

They come nearly one year after the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.

Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock filed House Bill 3 while Rep. Ken King, R-Hemphill, filed House Bill 13. 

In a statement, House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, said, "Ensuring that Texas children are safe in classrooms is a priority that the Texas House will take meaningful action on this year."

If approved, HB 3 would require an armed security guard on each campus.

It would also ensure that there's a phone or some kind of electronic device in each classroom so a teacher or substitute teacher can immediately reach district personnel or first responders if there's an emergency.

The legislation would also provide $15,000 for each school campus to use for installing physical barriers and security cameras or other equipment.

HB 13 would require training for teachers and others who interact with students regularly to identify those who are having mental health troubles.     

There would also be an active shooter preparedness plan that would require prior coordination with law enforcement and a grant program to help schools funding larger infrastructure needs.

Reps. Burrows and King were unavailable for interviews Thursday.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, filed Senate Bill 11, which has similar proposals.

T.J. Callaway, a parent and PTA board member in the Richardson ISD said most people will agree with these provisions. "We definitely need to make sure we have sturdy locks on all classroom doors. We need to make sure there's an emergency preparedness plan."

But he said he believes lawmakers need to address the root problem: gun safety.

Callaway said he favors more restrictions on gun sales and legislation for safe storage of firearms. "The problem we keep having with gun safety in this country and in this state is the guns. It's not the school buildings, it's not the teachers or anything like that."

While some Democratic lawmakers have proposed gun safety bills, they don't have the support of the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

The new school safety bills have bipartisan support and are expected to pass. The legislation requires school districts to conduct various safety audits on their campuses.

HB 3 says the Texas Education Agency "may review school district records as necessary to ensure compliance."

There was some uncertainty about this after Uvalde.

Governor Greg Abbott ordered safety audits to begin in August, at the start of the new school year, and these bills are meant to codify the requirements into state law.

There will be public hearings held on these bills coming up in the next few weeks.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.