School Safety

At the beginning of the 86th Legislative Session, Governor Greg Abbott named school safety among his emergency items. The Texas Legislature took action to address this priority by increasing safety and mental health supports in Texas schools through the passage of Senate Bill 11, House Bill 18, House Bill 19, and House Bill 906.

Senate Bill 11 (SB 11)

SB 11 focuses on expanding mental health initiatives, strengthens safety and emergency protocols, and provides funding to districts to increase safety and security on campuses. TEA will work closely with the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) in implementing SB 11, as well as with other statewide entities, including the regional education service centers (ESCs) and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). TEA’s roles include:

  • Coordinating with ESCs to identify mental health resources throughout the state and develop a statewide plan to ensure all students have access to mental health resources;
  • Ensuring local education agencies implement policies integrating trauma-informed practices in each school environment; 
  • Working with the TxSSC to ensure all school districts create and implement substantive multihazard emergency operations plans that focus on prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; 
  • Establishing a comprehensive safe and supportive school program that incorporates research-based best practices and develop model policies and procedures for training districts’ threat assessment teams; 
  • Establishing school safety facilities standards, and
  • Administering a $100M school safety grant (funded through SB500) to provide funding for facility hardening and an allotment to fund school facility improvements, school safety personnel, safety training and planning.
     

Operation and instructional time waivers for school safety training

According to Texas Education Code §25.0815, the commissioner must provide a waiver allowing for fewer minutes of operation and instructional time than required under Section 25.081(a) for a school district that requires each educator employed by the district to attend an approved school safety training course.  In addition, a waiver under this section:

  1. must allow sufficient time for the school district's educators to attend the school safety training course; and
  2. may not:
    • (A)  result in an inadequate number of minutes of instructional time for students; or
    • (B)  reduce the number of minutes of operation and instructional time by more than 420 minutes.

School districts must follow the below process for obtaining these waivers:

  • A district may request this waiver using the “Other” waiver application in the TEAL Waiver Online Report System.
  • Any waiver minutes reported must reflect the actual number of school safety training minutes provided.

In order to qualify for the waiver, the training provided must be from a Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) approved school safety training course.  The list of approved training is available at the following link: “TxSSC 2020 List of Approved Trainings for Operational and Instructional Time Waivers for School Safety Training.”

School Safety Guidance and Communication

Date Title Division
02/27/2020 Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) and Other School Safety-Related Legislation Operations