Brazoria County Sheriff Bo Stallman and Rep. Cody Vasut hosted a countywide school security summit on Aug. 31 in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde. Seven of the eight independent school districts in the county were represented. Reps. Ed Thompson and Mayes Middleton and district staff for Sen. Joan Huffman also attended the two-hour meeting.
"Representative Vasut and I knew we needed to do something to address the concerns of the students, parents and teachers in our community," Stallman said. "This meeting was part of our continuing efforts to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies to protect our citizens."
The roundtable discussion highlighted individual school district policies and programs used to secure school campuses. A number of those in attendance emphasized the need to enhance interagency communication networks, continue interagency response training and share critical security plans among local law enforcement. Multiple school officials asked for direct funding to be appropriated by the Legislature specifically for school security, and not into a general school district budget.
Vasut stressed that he and his colleagues should listen to law enforcement as they consider what will undoubtedly be a focus of the 88th Legislature. "It is critical for legislators to hear from those on the front lines who are charged with keeping our children safe ahead of next session," Vasut said.
Thompson applauded the strong attendance of the meeting. "The turnout for the event was incredible. It goes to show how engaged citizens are on the issue of school safety, and how important this discussion will be when the Legislature convenes in January," Thompson said. "I'm glad to meet with law enforcement, educators and parents in person, because there really is no substitute for face-to-face discussions when it comes to our children."
Middleton echoed his colleagues’ concerns, calling for reform and to ensure strict enforcement of current law. "We are in this together to improve school security. There is no one solution, but we know we need to put career security experts in charge of school safety, provide additional tools to law enforcement to identify and address threats, and aggressively enforce school safety laws," he said.
Stallman and each representative expressed their hope that counties around Texas are having similar meetings with their state and local elected officials. Stallman plans additional meetings with legislators and school officials to discuss specific actions that can be taken through legislation and local means.
For more information, please contact Austin McCarty at (800) 456-5974.