FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/07/2021
Metcalf Places Priority on School Safety
AUSTIN – State Representative Will Metcalf (Conroe) has filed two pieces of legislation to address school safety.
"As the father of two young daughters in the public school system and the husband to a former schoolteacher, I believe that no one should ever have to fear for their loved ones safety when leaving them on a school campus. We live in what can be a dangerous world and if evil makes its way on to a vulnerable school campus, Texas needs to make sure that our schools are doing everything they can to keep our loved ones safe," Metcalf stated. "I am proud of the work we did last session to address school safety through Senate Bill 11, but there is always more work to be done to ensure our children are safe," said Metcalf.
Representative Metcalf filed House Bill 690, which would require that school safety be an element of the required training for school board members. Under current law, school board members are required to undergo training with regards to topics like school finance, bond elections, and other subjects related to the running of a school district. However, school safety is not a required subject of training. This will be developed by the State Board of Education in conjunction with the Texas School Safety Center. "As the managers of our school districts, it seems like common sense to me that our school board trustees need to receive information and training on school safety in order to make informed decisions about their districts' safety measures and procedures," said Metcalf. "Board members can hardly be asked to address the safety issue if they are not properly trained in the subject. I think this is just another tool in the tool belt of school board members to ensure they are up to date on school safety standards."
Current law has certain minimum requirements for school safety, but no enforcement mechanism to ensure the cooperation of school districts. House Bill 691 puts enforcement mechanisms into these minimum standards. The Texas State School Safety Center would be responsible for identifying non-compliant districts, something they currently do, and reporting those districts to the Texas Education Agency. TEA will then have the ability to level fines against non-compliant districts equal to the current annual salary of the district superintendent. "These fines have to recognize the ability of a district to pay but be large enough to encourage compliance from school districts across the state. I believe HB 691 strikes that balance and will get a greater number of districts into compliance with minimum school safety practices. Fines collected will be used by TEA to assist school districts across the state with school safety," said Metcalf.
For more information, contact our Capitol office at (512) 463-0726.
CONTACT: Daniel Giese