HB 3 Burrows/Nichols
The primary school safety bill of this session. It includes many
provisions regarding school safety, including the requirement that
districts have at least one armed security officer at each campus;
employees regularly interacting with students must complete mental
health training (unless they have already done so); TEA will create a new office of safety and security;
and districts will receive enhanced funding for school safety.
Districts must have at least one armed security officer during regular school hours at each district campus. The officer must be a school district peace officer, school resource officer, or a commissioned peace officer employed as security personnel. A district can claim a good cause exception from this requirement if due to lack of funding or lack of personnel who qualify to serve in this capacity. Such a district must develop an alternative standard, which may include providing a person to act as a security officer who is a school marshal or other person (who may be an employee) who has completed school safety training and has authority to carry a handgun on school premises.
Education service centers (ESCs) will serve as a school safety resource. The ESC may provide assistance to districts/charters through the direct provision of positive behavioral interventions and support to mitigate or prevent future harmful, threatening, or violent behavior by a student.
Employees who regularly interact with students must complete mental health training regarding students who experience a mental health or substance use issue that may pose a threat to school safety; not required for employees who have previously completed similar training by a local mental health authority. TEA will provide allotments to help districts pay the costs of travel, training fees and compensation for time spent completing the training. Educators can receive CPE credit for the training.
Parents must provide districts with their student's disciplinary record and any threat assessment from another district in Texas or another state, if applicable.
A person permitted to carry a firearm on campus, other than a commissioned peace officer, cannot perform routine law enforcement duties, including arrests, unless in response to an emergency situation.
TEA must monitor districts' implementation of safety and security requirements, creating an office of school safety and security within the agency. TEA will conduct a detailed vulnerability assessment of each district on a random basis every four years.
The new office of safety and security will establish a school safety review team within each ESC, and teams will annually conduct on-site intruder detection audits. Superintendents will be notified at least a week in advance of an upcoming campus audit. The commissioner can assign a conservator to a district that refuses required monitoring/assessment/audit, does not timely comply with safety requirements, or does not address issues raised by monitoring/assessment/audit.
TEA will establish guidelines to ensure the safety of students and personnel with disabilities or impairments during a disaster or emergency. TEA must also develop standards for providing notice to parents about violent activity that has occurred at district facilities, including texts and emails. Districts must adopt a policy for providing such notice.
Policies regarding threat assessment teams must ensure a clear procedure for students to report concerning behavior of another student.
Each district/charter must provide accurate maps to DPS and local law enforcement/first responders, and provide them an opportunity to conduct walk-throughs.
The Texas School Safety Center will review facilities standards at least once every five years and make necessary recommendations to the commissioner to ensure best practices for school safety. TSSC must provide districts/charters with information regarding safe firearm storage, including information to be forwarded to parents regarding ways they can prevent children from accessing firearms.
The commissioner can adopt rules regarding safety and security requirements that districts must comply with in order to receive school safety funding.
Bond proceeds for construction/equipment can be used to pay for costs associated with complying with safety/security requirements for facilities. A district that has been determined to not be in compliance must use bond proceeds for safety/security before using them for another purpose.
The allotment is a base of $15,000 per campus, plus $10 for each student, plus $1 per ADA for every $50 by which the district's maximum basic allotment exceeds $6,160. Allowable uses are expanded to include perimeter security fencing (no razor wire); exterior door and window safety upgrades; technology such as panic alert devices, two-way radios or wireless Internet booster equipment; or employing a school safety director and other related personnel.
Allows TEA to determine that some technologies can be purchased only by an approved vendor. If a statewide contract would result in savings for districts, TEA, with approval from LBB and the governor, can enter into a contract with a vendor for a particular technology. TEA will publish a directory of approved vendors; if a district uses a non-approved vendor it must solicit bids from at least three vendors before purchasing.
Specifies that IWatch reports are confidential.
Requires a sheriff of a county under 350,000 to conduct semiannual meetings to discuss school safety, law enforcement responses, etc. Specifies the persons who must attend such meetings (primarily local law enforcement and superintendents/charter school leaders).