Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Texas governor admits Santa Fe High School shooting laws did not have ‘teeth’ | Texas

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott said that laws passed following the Santa Fe mass shooting in 2018 did not have any “teeth,” allowing school districts to skirt compliance on what was supposed to make schools across the state safer from mass shootings.

During a press conference on broadband expansion, Abbott also fielded questions on the success of those laws, adding that more will be done to strengthen them.

“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.

In 2019, lawmakers passed 17 bills in response to the mass shooting where a teenager was shot and killed two teachers and eight students at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

Those bills include directing districts to bolster their emergency response protocols, specifically including active shooter protocols. Districts were also required to develop and train behavioral threat assessment teams to flag any potential threats.

Even so, Texas experienced yet another mass shooting and the deadliest school shooting in the state in May, where a gunman killed 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Abbott said that moving forward he expects lawmakers will reach an agreement on even more enhanced safety standards with true compliance mechanisms. He added that ensuring compliance will be one of the core responsibilities of the newly created Chief School Safety Officer position within the Texas Education Agency.

“That person and their team will be in charge of ensuring that schools across the entire state of Texas will be in compliance,” Abbott said.

He added: “We all agree on one thing, we want our schools to be safe. We agree that we need to have the best safety standard protocols in place, and we agree that those protocols need to be followed. We will execute on all three of those components.”

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