Nearly three months since the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, the Texas Education Agency says school safety remains its top priority.
Academic growth and preparing students for the future is the agency’s mission. However, keeping students safe is a must, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said.
Morath detailed the agency’s steps to protect Texas children in their schools.
“We — public education — have literally checked every exterior door of every single facility in the state of Texas to make sure that they close, lock, and perform properly. Schools all over the state of Texas are reevaluating their access control procedures,” Morath said.
Morath said districts are now limiting school visitor access. Visitors can only gain access through authorized doors and must be checked in before being allowed in.
Additionally, school staff is also receiving additional safety and security training, and districts are required to create their own threat assessment team at every campus.
“This is a small group that is listening to all the sort of inbound reports. Sometimes that’s someone saying, ‘I saw something on social media.’ Sometimes, it’s something someone does after school or something somebody does in school. Each team is trained to look at those factors, evaluate them, and come up with an appropriate case management strategy,” Morath said.
Although the safety measures are not new, many schools were not executing them consistently, according to Morath.
“What we have done this summer is ensured consistent approach to training to a security protocol analysis exterior access control and review to make sure that every school is as safe as we can possibly make it,” Morath said.
He said the TEA continues to follow the order from Gov. Greg Abbott and is looking to hire a chief of school safety and security.