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 is essential to develop 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:
79% of schools have a visitor sign-in process.
93.8% of administrators said that metal detectors were never used in their school.
44% of school districts have law enforcement officers on their campus regularly.
80% of schools have staff who monitor school buildings before and after school.
87.7% of districts use CCTV cameras.
96.1% of administrators lock their campus doors to limit access to the school.
Around half (54.9%) of teachers said “most” teachers at their school monitor hallways between classes, while 19.8% said “all” teachers monitor the hallways.
School hardening can take several different forms, none of which is mutually exclusive. Typical infrastructure hardening is one option. Structural improvements could include:
Building front offices closer to entrances & creating vestibules where doors must be remotely unlocked before visitors can enter into the school;
Erecting barriers around campuses and stadiums that prevent vehicles from being driven into crowds or students;
Installing metal detectors at school entrances;
Installing security systems that monitor and record entrances, exits and hallways;
Providing telephones or radios in every classroom so that teachers can quickly report threats;
Installing active shooter alarm systems; and
Controlled access to campus facilities.
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
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 silent 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.
ASR Alert Systems is a state-of-the-art security 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 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.