AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement today upon announcing interim charges to the Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security:
“On Wednesday I asked Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, to chair the Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security, to address the many factors that contribute to school violence. Today, I am providing the select committee with the interim charges we’ve been asked to consider by Gov. Greg Abbott as well as additional charges I want them to study. I know Sen. Taylor and the select committee are ready to get to work on this critically important task immediately. I have asked for their full report by the first week of August.”
The interim charges are as follows:
- Improve the infrastructure and design of Texas schools to reduce security threats, and discuss various proposals to harden school facilities, including limiting access points, improving screening and detecting of weapons, retrofitting school facilities with improved locks, emergency alarm systems, and monitoring cameras.
- Study school security options and resources, including, but not limited to, the school marshal program, school police officers, armed school personnel, the Texas School Safety Center, and other training programs to determine what improvements can be made to provide school districts and charter schools with more robust security options.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
Along with Sen. Taylor, Lt. Gov. Patrick appointed Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, as vice chair of the committee. Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, will serve as members of the committee.