Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter to Commissioner Mike Morath directing the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to ensure existing school facilities are held to heightened safety standards following last week’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Governor Abbott specifically requested TEA to:
- instruct school districts to identify actions they can take prior to the start of the new school year that will make their campuses more secure
- instruct all school districts to conduct weekly inspections of exterior doors to verify they are secure during school hours
- develop strategies to encourage school districts to increase the presence of trained law enforcement officers and school marshals on campuses
The letter in its entirety can be found here and the text can be found below:
“Dear Commissioner Morath:
After the horrific shooting at Santa Fe High School, I made school safety an emergency item
during the 2019 legislative session. The Texas Legislature responded by passing Senate Bill 11
to make schools safer for students and teachers. Sadly, tragedy struck Texas again last week
with the senseless shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
In the wake of this devastating crime, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that our schools
provide a safe and secure environment for the children of Texas. Senate Bill 11 requires you to
adopt rules to ensure that building standards for school district facilities are safe and secure.
Additionally, you are required to review and amend any such rules by September 1, 2022, to
ensure that school building standards provide a secure and safe environment for children,
teachers, and staff.
You have adopted rules that impose standards that school districts must follow when building
new facilities after November 1, 2021, to ensure they are safe and secure, but there is still more
work to be done. You should immediately prepare additional rules to ensure that existing school
facilities are also held to heightened safety standards. Your task is to provide ways to make
Additionally, I direct you to determine the cost for school districts to comply with these
heightened safety standards for existing facilities. The Office of the Governor and the Texas
Legislature need this critical information to determine the best ways to secure our schools and
how to properly allocate funding.
In addition, you must instruct school districts to identify actions they can take prior to the start of
the new school year that will make their campuses more secure. You should also instruct all
school districts to conduct weekly inspections of exterior doors to verify they are secure during
school hours. Finally, you should develop strategies to encourage school districts to increase the
presence of trained law enforcement officers and school marshals on campuses.
Thank you for your hard work on this important issue. We must do everything possible to
protect children and safeguard our schools.”