AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath ordering immediate action to ensure the safety of children in Texas schools following the tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week. In the letter, Governor Abbott outlines a number of steps to be taken by state education leaders to help respond to and prevent such tragedies.
"All of Texas grieves the tragedy that occurred in Parkland last week," said Governor Abbott. "As Governor, I take seriously the safety of all Texas residents, and as an American, I mourn the loss of 17 Floridians in a cruel and senseless act of violence. Immediate steps must be taken to keep our students and communities safe, with the understanding that more will be expected in the future."
Governor Abbott's letter outlines the following steps:
- Catalog and share all available information from the Texas School Safety Center on school safety programs and distribute this information to all school districts, charter schools and education service centers across the state. To the extent possible, distribute this information to private schools and childcare providers as well. 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.
- Ensure that all Texas public schools have completed their statutorily required school safety audits and have submitted confirmation of these audits to the Texas School Safety Center. Also, ensure that all districts have a multi-hazard emergency operations plan in place and ensure that schools have conducted safety and security audits on all facilities, both instructional and non-instructional.
- Publish 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 in point two above within 45 days.
- Work with the Texas School Safety Center, the Texas Department of Public Safety and my office to draft recommendations to the Texas Legislature on changes to the school safety architecture of our state.
Read the Governor's letter below.