SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — School districts across the entire state are now required to set up “threat assessment teams.” The change came after the Santa Fe school shooting and the security bill SB 11 made optional training mandatory.
The training is centered in San Marcos at the Texas School Safety Center. Staff and contractors from the center held a training Friday at the San Marcos Holiday Inn. The Texas legislature created the Texas School Safety Center after the shooting at Columbine High School.
The Lieutenant over the Hays County school resource officers says they learned how to find out how serious a threat is.
“You know that the kid maybe has gone to a gun range and has been practicing,” said Lt. Dennis Gutierrez, from Hays County Sheriff’s Office. “So it could be something simple as a couple of hours or it could take a couple of days. It just depends on manpower and how fast you can move with the information.”
It’s a multi-part process: filled with interviews, background research, and action steps to take. It will now be uniform across the state.
“It makes it more efficient so if we have to share information with say another agency or another county, or school district, we’re all on the same page,” Lt. Gutierrez said.
The new law outlines who’s on the team: parents, law enforcement, teachers and more. Officials from Del Valle, Boerne and Austin ISD went through Friday’s training.
Laura Stone, school safety specialist with the Texas School Safety Center tells KXAN, “The magnitude of this is huge. It’s far-reaching.”
She says they measure results by the information they collect and the actions they stop.
“Having a way to prevent and interrupt the student’s possible plans. So that they never come to fruition; having a lot of stories that are never told because they never happened,” Stone said.
This process is really just beginning because between October and January there will be 50 more training sessions across the entire state. To expand this statewide and to audit all those districts every three years, the Texas School Safety Center will have to hire more than 20 extra people. Lawmakers approved the money to pay for them in the budget that begins Sept. 1.