Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, released a letter detailing his agenda for the 88th Legislative Session as it pertains to school safety. Within the letter, he outlined 8 policies he wants the Texas House of Representatives to pursue. One of which provides funding to school districts to allow for the purchase of panic alert technology. The legislation would most resemble the legislation in Florida known as "Alyssa's Law". Here is the letter.
The letter from Speaker Phelan was released via Twitter.
Alyssa’s Law addresses the issue of law enforcement response time when a life-threatening emergency occurs. The law calls for the installation of warning lights and a panic alarm in schools to provide the fastest possible support during a code red. In a code red, every second counts. Alyssa's Law has now been passed in the state of New Jersey and a bill has been filed on the state of Florida. Petitions have been started to ensure the Alyssa Law gets passed at the national level.
The Alyssa Law was named after 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who lost her life in the Stoneman Douglas School shooting. Investigation of the tragedy found that insufficient response time was found to be a contributing factor in the loss of life. The Alyssa Law would require all public elementary and secondary schools to install either panic alarms or alternative emergency mechanisms approved by The Department of Education. To learn more about Alyssa's Law and the organization behind it, visit the Make Our Schools Safe website.
The bill is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the 17 murdered during the 2018 attack at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
School safety advocates are promoting a proposal to require panic alert devices in all Texas classrooms.
The Committee Substitute to House Bill 204 requires districts to implement a “multi-hazard emergency operations plan” based on guidelines set forth by the Texas School Safety Center, the governor’s office of homeland security, and the state’s education commissioner.
A key component of the bill’s requirements is a panic alert device — either physical or digital — to trigger communication with law enforcement.
The legislation is dubbed “Alyssa’s Law” after Floridian Alyssa Alhadeff who died in the Parkland high school shooting in 2018.
“So vivacious, loved life, was a soccer player… just an amazing person, and I miss her so much,” her mom, Lori said Tuesday (4/13/21). Lori Alhadeff traveled to Texas to testify on the legislation.
The bill was slated for a hearing in the House Public Education Committee on 4.
HB204 requires districts the panic alert device to allow for “immediate contact with the district
emergency services or emergency services agencies, law enforcement agencies, health departments, and fire departments,” according to the bill’s committee substitute.
The language requires junior college districts to include a panic alert device or a phone in the classroom.
Similar legislation passed in Florida and has taken effect in New Jersey.
2021-05-07 House Committee report sent to Calendars
2021-05-06 House Committee report distributed
2021-05-06 House Comte report filed with Committee Coordinator
2021-05-03 House Reported favorably as substituted
2021-05-03 House Committee substitute considered in committee
2021-05-03 House Considered in a formal meeting
2021-04-23 House Left pending in committee
2021-04-23 House Committee substitute considered in committee
2021-04-23 House Considered in a formal meeting
2021-04-13 House Left pending in committee
2021-04-13 House Testimony taken/registration(s) recorded in committee
2021-04-13 House Committee substitute considered in committee
2021-04-13 House Considered in a public hearing
2021-04-13 House Scheduled for a public hearing on . . .
2021-02-25 House Referred to Public Education
2021-02-25 House Read first time
2020-11-09 House Filed
Texas House Bill 3926
HARDENING OF CAMPUS FACILITIES
Improve the infrastructure and design of Texas schools to reduce security threats. School facilities are soft targets. Although our schools are filled with children, we often leave them vulnerable and
exposed to external threats. As Texas continues to respond to the threat of active shooters on campus, every possible solution must be evaluated. In order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role school infrastructure and design play in preventing an active shooter, the Legislature should consider improvements to security, including the potential use of metal detectors or deadbolt locks for certain doors, and greater control of entrances, exits, and external access.
Discussions have included architects, law enforcement, superintendents, teachers, and students.
Their diverse viewpoints made it clear that no one-size-fits-all program or recommendation exists. For example, some round table participants wanted more metal detectors, while other participants explained the shortcomings of that strategy. School hardening can mean several different things, and ultimately the decision on what and how many security
measures to take is up to the locally elected school board. Parents, teachers, and principals should all be involved in the school board’s determination of what security measures are needed to protect their students. Everyone involved must be sensitive to resisting the impulse to simply turn our schools into armed fortresses. Instead, we must integrate the needs of security with the essential mission of our schools – educating the next generation of Texas students.
Further dialogue and information sharing are essential to developing a slate of best practices, flexible and adaptable recommendations that schools can use to suit their local needs. These recommendations should include options for the retrofit of existing buildings as well as a set of design principles that should guide new construction. Schools should be able to access a list of trusted partners to implement these plans to ensure they are working with the best
vendors possible. All of these recommendations should be periodically updated to keep pace with new technological developments and lessons learned by other districts.
The Texas School Safety Center has collected data on the current safety of Texas school facilities. According to a 2015 – 2016 survey done by TSSC:
School hardening can take several different forms, none of which is mutually exclusive. Typical infrastructure hardening is one option. Structural improvements could include:
The hardening of school facilities is important. While it is not the only solution to keeping schools safer, it is an important defense in cases where a student has already decided to harm themselves, their peers, or educators. Through rigorous safety procedures, a school district can protect students from harm. More information and resources can be provided by the Texas School Safety Center. Upgrades to existing facilities are costly, though a variety of federal funds for equipment, technology, and security personnel are available to ISDs. The Legislature should consider evaluating these options and providing guidance to school districts on the issue.
To read the full text of the Texas School Safety Action Plan - CLICK HERE
4/7/21 - The Texas House on Wednesday passed a bill to create a state active shooter alert system, pushing through the first piece of legislation to address multiple mass shootings in the state since the Legislature last met in 2019.
House Bill 103, known as the Leilah Hernandez Act in memory of the youngest victim of the Midland-Odessa shootings of 2019, would create an active shooter alert system similar to an Amber alert for missing children. The House passed the bill on a vote of 146-0. It now moves to the Senate.
ASR Alert Systems is a state-of-the-art critical incident response technology specializing in the field of threat alert notifications to local Law Enforcement and First Responders in the event of a crisis. The threat notification capabilities include Active Shooter/Assailant, Medical, and Severe Weather. Our team of professionals has diverse experience in Security, Law Enforcement, and Special Operations Military. ASR has melded these capabilities for use in both the public and private sectors.
ASR’s President, Hector Delgado says, “Our system empowers students, faculty, and staff to notify local first responders, 911 dispatch, and all personnel within their facility in an active shooter/assailant situation with the simple push of a button. The notification pinpoints and provides the exact location of the threat. This not only helps police respond immediately with accurate information, but it also helps our students, faculty, and staff know where the threat is located so they can run away from the threat, not towards it. There is no question that the ASR Alert System can make a difference, we truly believe that saving time saves lives!”
Being involved with school safety is on every parents mind. You can help to make certain that YOUR SCHOOL is implementing this life-saving critical incident response technology by encouraging your school to reach out to us to schedule a free demonstration.
A petition has been started to ensure the Alyssa Law gets passed at the national level. The law was passed in New Jersey earlier this year and implemented for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. State Representative Michael Gottlieb has sponsored the bill and will need the legislature to agree to allow alarms in schools.
The public can help bring Alyssa's Law through to the national level by signing the petition using the link below. The petition has a goal of 10,000 signatures.
To sign the petition CLICK HERE
We align with Make Our Schools Safe in their belief that no one should be afraid to go to school. Together, let’s provide secure environments where our children can focus on learning and growing without the worry of violence.
Donations will support MOSS security education in order to provide best practices and systems for change to schools across the country, funding for programs to be implemented, and shared educational workshops.
Donate to support the Make Our Schools Safe mission in making schools safe for everyone.
After careful investigation of the Parkland, FL shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, insufficient emergency response time was found to be a major contributing factor in the loss of life that day. With ASR alert systems, response time can be SIGNIFICANTLY shorter, more rapid, and wholly more efficient. ASR is currently offering special deals in compliance with Alyssa's Law.
If you are interested in obtaining more information for your school or to schedule a demonstration of this life-saving technology, please fill out the following information. An informed professional will reach out to you as quickly as possible to help you.