A special Texas Senate committee devoted to fighting school violence has recommended improving mental-health resources for students and increasing funding for a program that arms some members of school staff, but shied away from any measures aiming to limit access to guns.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, formed the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security following the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School south of Houston. Committee members heard testimony during four meetings in June and July on ways to improve school safety infrastructure, address mental health issues among students and consider controversial “red flag” policies that would take guns away from those deemed a risk to others.
Several of the committee’s recommendations focused on “hardening” schools, adding funding for metal detectors and other security apparatuses on campuses. The committee also recommended that the state explore increasing financing for school marshal programs, which allow certified staffers to have access to firearms in schools. During its public hearings, committee members heard testimony that marshal programs can strain school budgets, since they require training and lockboxes for guns. The committee hopes to alleviate that strain with state funds, though it didn’t give specific dollar amounts for any of its recommendations.