AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott said laws passed in the wake of the 2018 Santa Fe mass shooting had no “teeth,” allowing school districts to circumvent compliance with what was supposed to make schools safer. the state safer from mass shootings.
At a press conference on broadband expansion, Abbott also answered questions about the success of these laws, adding that more will be done to strengthen them.
“We can see from what happened in Uvalde that in fact those laws either didn’t have teeth or weren’t fully enforced,” Abbott said.
In 2019, lawmakers passed 17 bills in response to the mass shooting where a teenager shot and killed two teachers and eight students at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.
These bills include requiring districts to strengthen their emergency response protocols, including active shooter protocols. Districts were also required to develop and train behavioral threat assessment teams to report any potential threats.
Even so, Texas saw another mass shooting and the deadliest school shooting in the state in May, when a gunman killed 19 fourth-graders and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
Abbott said that going forward, he expects lawmakers to come to an agreement on even better security standards with real compliance mechanisms. He added that ensuring compliance will be one of the key responsibilities of the newly created position of school safety officer at the Texas Education Agency.
“This individual and his team will be responsible for ensuring that schools across the state of Texas are compliant,” Abbott said.
He added: “We all agree on one thing, we want our schools to be safe. We agree that we must have the best security standards protocols in place, and we agree that those protocols must be followed. We will execute these three components.