The Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security held its third scheduled meeting on July 18. This session addressed an interim charge to “examine the root cause of mass murder in schools including, but not limited to, risk factors such as mental health, substance use disorders, anger management, social isolation, the impact of high intensity media coverage — the so-called 'glorification' of school shooters — to determine the effect on copy cat shootings, and the desensitization to violence resulting from video games, music, film and social media." Lawmakers will "recommend strategies to early identify and intercept high-risk students, as well as strategies to promote healthy school culture, including character education and community support initiatives.” (For more coverage of the event, click here.)

The committee heard from a number of invited witnesses, including medical professionals from behavioral health entities, as well as counselors, school psychologists and social workers. The Senate Select Committee will hold its next meeting on July 24 to address another interim charge to “examine whether current protective order laws are sufficient or whether the merits of Extreme Risk Protective Orders, or “Red Flag” laws, should be considered for seeking a temporary removal of firearms from a person who poses an immediate danger to themselves or others, only after legal due process is provided with a burden of proof sufficient to protect Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

As Texas officials continue to grapple with school safety and security following the deadly shooting in May at Santa Fe High School, Gov. Greg Abbott covened another stakeholder meeting July 16 to discuss his School and Firearm Action Plan. TCTA Director of Legislation Paige Williams attended the meeting to continue to advocate for more support for teachers in addressing behavioral issues. TCTA also supports increasing the number of mental health professionals and counselors on campus. Other topics discussed were the use of school district resource officers, hardening of schools, the school marshal program, and the iWatch program launched by the Department of Public Safety. 

TCTA will continue to participate and advocate for Texas teachers and keep members apprised of any developments.