The Response to Santa Fe: Our School Safety Bill

Happy Monday, Readers!  This week the Dawg will chew on a big bone from the legislative session—SB 11. This was the legislature’s major response to the massacre at Santa Fe ISD and other concerns over school safety.  This bill does many things, so we are going to chop it up and tell you about a few parts of it each day.  Let’s hope that by Friday, we will all have a better understanding of SB 11. At least that’s the goal. 

So here goes with the first four parts.

1. The Commissioner will adopt rules “to ensure that building standards for instructional facilities and other school district and open enrollment charter school facilities provide a secure and safe environment.”

Architects and building contractors will need to pay close attention to the rules we get from the Commissioner.  The term we have heard is “hardening” the facility, making it easier to secure all points of entry and more difficult for intruders to breach that security. 

2. The district improvement plan must include provisions for the “trauma-informed care policy required under Section 38.036” of the Education Code.

There are numerous references in the bills passed this session to trauma and grief, and how those experiences impact students.  We have many children who have witnessed or experienced violence in the home.  Many students have parents who have been, or currently are, incarcerated.  Many students have experienced at a young age the death of a close family member. 

3. Multiple sections of Chapter 37 dealing with safety are made applicable to open enrollment charters.

Every session the legislature makes more laws applicable to charters.  Chapter 37 as a whole does not apply to charters, but some of the sections of Chapter 37 do.  SB 11 lists nine sections that deal with school safety that will be applicable to open enrollment charters.  This will include the requirement to have a Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan (MEOP), certification by the Texas School Safety Center (TSSC), and a safety and security audit.

4. Continuing education for classroom teachers must include how grief and trauma affect students.

So there will be a lot of training going on about this.  Good.  


Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday and SB 11.