School Safety Bill to Prevent Shootings Passed by Texas Senate
On Monday, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 11, aiming to help prevent school shootings.
The bill, which passed by a 29-2 vote, will work to improve mental health initiatives in schools, require telephone and electronic communication access in classrooms, establish a threat assessment team that will identify potentially violent students and intervene, and a school safety committee that will meet once per semester. While the bill was primarily authored by Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, other senators added amendments prior to the vote that include dating violence and stalking as harmful and threatening behavior, and giving students the power to anonymously report other students as potential threats.
The two senators who voted against the bill were Bob Hall of Edgewood and Bryan Hughes of Mineola. Hughes cited the concerns of those in his district as his reason for voting against the bill, but also said he couldn't remember the concerns off the top of his head. Senator Taylor told his fellow senators,
We cannot afford to do nothing, and a lot of times we get caught up here in the Legislature and we let perfect become the enemy of the good. Today we have before us a bill that is good and would help our protect our students in the future.
According to the Texas Tribune, this was the first legislative session since the school shooting at Santa Fe High School last year, which is in Taylor's district.