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Texas lawmakers consider school safety bills as deadly shooting occurs at an Arlington high school

Lawmakers propose bills designed to improve school safety
Lawmakers propose bills designed to improve school safety 02:06

DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas) - A shooting at Lamar High School left one student dead and another injured in Arlington on Monday. The incident comes as state lawmakers consider a variety of school safety bills at the Texas Capitol.

According to Arlington Police, a male student was discovered with a gunshot wound just outside the school building and later died from his injuries after being transported to a hospital. A female student also suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being grazed by gunfire.

Following the incident, officers took a juvenile into custody, who has been charged with one count of capital murder.

"There's a lot of work we have to do," State Rep. Joe Moody said Monday in an interview with CBS News Texas. "We cannot keep waking up to these stories."

In the House, HB 3 and HB 13 would require an armed security officer to be present on every school campus.

The decision to hire school resource officers, law enforcement officers or participate in the Marshal or Guardian programs, would be left to each school district.

Furthermore, every classroom must be equipped with a phone or an electronic device that enables teachers to contact school personnel or first responders immediately.

Teachers and staff would also receive training to recognize students with mental health problems.

SB 11, a similar bill, is being discussed in the Senate.

All the legislation is a response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last May, in which a gunman killed 19 students and their two teachers.

"These are parts of the solutions to those failures that we witnessed there, actually based on some of the things we heard from across the state," Moody, an author of HB 3 said." They were occurring on campuses everywhere."

Rep. Ken King, another author of HB 3, and author of HB 13 told CBS News Texas Monday, "The whole point of the bill isn't to arm more teachers or have to stop more active shooters. It's hopefully to find these kids that are troubled and get them the help they need before it gets to this stage." 

Under HB 13, King said school districts would have to update their active-shooter preparedness plans more frequently.

Both King and Moody agree with provisions in the bills that ensure school districts are complying with safety and security rules.

Lawmakers have proposed spending $600 million dollars on school safety in the next two years.

HB 3 would also give $15,000 to each school campus for security measures.

The legislation would also create a state grant program to fund infrastructure improvements at school campuses.

HB 3, HB 13 and SB 11 have been referred to legislative committees and there will soon be hearings on those bills.

While there is bipartisan agreement to make schools safer, Republicans and Democrats don't see eye to eye when it comes to new gun safety legislation.

"Making sure that weapons aren't in the hands of folks that would do us harm is certainly another part," Moody said. "It's a conversation that we don't get enough time, energy, and attention behind in this building, and historically, that's been the case."

King disagreed with Moody. "If you follow the law, it's harder for you to get a gun than if you don't follow the law and I don't think passing more gun laws is going to change that. I think bad guys are still going to do bad things."

Some Democratic lawmakers have filed bills to increase restrictions on gun sales, but they face an uphill climb in the House and Senate which have Republican majorities.

On Tuesday afternoon, the House Youth Health and Safety Select Committee will hear testimony on a variety of bills related to school security.

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