By: José Niño
On April 25, 2023, the Texas House passed legislation that would mandate school districts to have at least one armed officer or staff member on each campus. This is part of a broader school safety campaign pursued by elected officials during the 2023 legislative sessions of the state legislature.
School safety has been a major theme of the current legislative session, which has seen elected officials try to forge ahead with responses to the Uvalde massacre of 2022 that witnessed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School get slaughtered in cold blood.
House Bill 3, which was introduced by State Representative Dustin Burrows, would mandate that an armed officer or employee placed in a school undergo handgun instruction training focused on school safety. On top of that, the bill would mandate at least one yearly intruder detection audit in each school district, and it would require local law enforcement in rural counties to convene with school district officials to discuss safety matters.
HB 3 was passed in the State House by a vote margin of 119-25. It would provide districts with at least $100 per student and $15,000 per campus to promote and bolster school safety.
“At the end of the day, teachers, students, and their families deserve safe classrooms, and school administrators need the support of the state and cooperation of law enforcement to make those safe classrooms a reality,” Burrows stated.
More red states are beginning to take the matter of school safety seriously. Gun-free zones do nothing to prevent gun violence on school grounds. If anything, such measures turn schools into soft targets for would-be mass murderers.
Instead, it makes sense for local governing bodies to craft their own school security policies allowing armed staff, private security, or law enforcement to have a stronger campus presence. The one-size fits all model of imposing gun-free zones in schools is clearly not working as far as promoting school safety is concerned.