New safety rules to help strengthen schools against attacks could go into effect by spring, TEA says

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
New safety rules might be coming to schools, but will that be enough?
The TEA says the measures could be just days away and would include stronger glass and safety inspections, but some education leaders say that might not be enough after Nashville's shooting killed six.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Measures to better protect your kids at school could be only days away from going into effect, but some education leaders explained they might not be enough to prevent future school shootings.

The school shooting in Nashville has parents in Houston thinking about their child's safety.

"It's scary and having a 9-year-old stepdaughter in the school system, just immediately thoughts went to her and their safety," parent Nicole Tabak said.

"We have little kids. And we just want them to be as safe when we send them to school. We expect them to be safe," parent Kenard Huff explained.

Following the elementary school shooting in Uvalde that left more than 20 dead, the Texas Education Agency proposed new safety rules.

RELATED: Continuous mass shootings have impact on children's mental well being, experts say

Schools would have to improve technology with panic buttons and radios. They'd also have to improve door locks and add bulletproof glass.

Inspections would also take place on door locks and safety plans.

"We can put all these bells and whistles on the side that we want to. It's only going to tinker around the edges of the real problem," Texas American Federation of Teachers president Zeph Capo said.

Capo said lawmakers should also look at root causes. He explained gun reform and hiring more staff to recognize red flags are needed.

"We should be focusing on making sure our schools actually have counselors who counsel," Capo explained. "Right now, most of our counselors do test prep."

The TEA's proposed rules would not apply to private or religious schools.

The agency told ABC13 the rules could be adopted this spring. Some education leaders say these measures will help but don't do enough.

RELATED: Texas School Safety Center defends delays in accountability

"Until we take decisive action, these things are going to continue to happen, and it's just going to be a matter of when, not necessarily to where or to whom," Capo said.

This is a reality parents were reminded of yet again after students as young as 9 years old were killed at a school in Nashville.

RELATED: Nashville shooting victims: Head of school, 9-year-old students, custodian among those killed

"That's the thing you should be most concerned about," Huff said.

"It is pretty high," Tabak said. "You're trusting others with your child's life."

Parents say safety is at the top, even ahead of education, after what keeps happening.

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