FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/15/2019
Representative Thierry Announces Three-Pronged Strategy to Address Mental Health in Schools and Keep Texas Schools Safe from Threat of Gun Violence
Austin, Texas: (Monday, January 14, 2019) State Representative Shawn Thierry (D - 146) announced three pieces of legislation tackling public school safety and addressing the mental health needs of Texas' children. The impetus for the bills is the alarming rise in student suicide and school violence in Texas.
As the mother of a six-year old child attending a Houston area public school, Representative Thierry said she deeply identifies with the fears parents now face on a daily basis, as they drop their children off at school. “Most would agree that children are our most treasured assets. They should be able to learn and thrive without the fear that at any given moment, they may be the next next victim of a school shooting. I am striving for school environments that support mental wellness and are free from lethal weapons entering the building,” remarked the Rep. Thierry.
HB-198 will allow school boards to appoint licensed mental health providers to assist in the formulation and design of mental health education, care and service. Similarly, HB-204 will mandate the inclusion of mental health in the current health enrichment curriculum. Lastly, HB-796 will require the use of metal detectors in all Texas public schools.
"For decades, our schools have provided instruction on physical health such as proper nutrition and exercise, but information is completely missing on how our mental health directly correlates with our well-being," remarked Representative Thierry. “Our schools’ curriculum even provides instruction on dental health. In the era of increased student suicides and school violence, it would seem that mental health would be a given.”
In advocacy of HB-796, the metal detector bill, Representative Thierry remarked, “With metal detectors, kids and teachers will no longer be sitting ducks. They will have peace of mind that their classrooms are weapon-free.”
“Our schools should be just as safe as airports, courthouses and government buildings. Our children are our most vulnerable population, certainly they deserve the same level of security and protection as legislators entering the state Capitol.”
All of Thierry’s bills align with Governor Abbott’s School Safety Action Plan, which emphasizes the need to prevent security threats through a multi-level approach, including increased student access to mental health services and hardening the infrastructure of schools.
Media Contact: Angela Beam