Our schools must always be a safe place for learning

Following the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, there has been a renewed commitment to safety precautions for students, teachers, administrators and staff on all our campuses. Governor Greg Abbott has ordered immediate action on a number of fronts to be taken by state education leaders – including myself and staff at the Texas Education Agency – to help respond to and prevent such tragedies occurring in our state.

Governor Abbott's letter outlined several steps including: 

  • Cataloging and sharing all available information from the Texas School Safety Center on school safety programs and distributing this information to all school districts, charter schools and education service centers across the state. And to the extent possible, distributing this information to private schools and childcare providers. The goal is to ensure that all schools have access to the best, most up-to-date information about strategies to protect schools and students from attacks like the one in Parkland.
  • Ensuring that all Texas public schools have completed their statutorily required school safety audits and have reported the results of these audits to the Texas School Safety Center. 
  • Ensuring all districts have a multi-hazard emergency operations plan in place.
  • Ensuring schools have conducted safety and security audits on all facilities, both instructional and non-instructional. 
  • Publishing on the Texas Education Agency website and via Agency press release a list of any school districts that have not completed the statutory requirements referenced above within 45 days. 
  • The Governor has made it clear that immediate steps must be taken to keep our students and communities safe, with the understanding that more will be expected in the future. I certainly agree. That is why I have directed TEA staff to begin full implementation of his directives.

As part of that effort, TEA staff will be working with our counterparts at the Texas School Safety Center (located at Texas State University in San Marcos), Texas Department of Public Safety and Governor’s Office to draft recommendations to the Texas Legislature on changes to the school safety architecture of our state.

Our schools must always be a safe place for learning. Governor Abbott has identified specific steps that can help strengthen campus safety for all students. However, our agencies will be working together to do even more.    

Letter to Commissioner Morath from Gov. Greg Abbott (PDF 114 KB)

Commissioner Mike Morath
Feb. 27, 2018