On May 18, 2018, eight students and two teachers were fatally shot at Santa Fe High School in the Houston metropolitan area. Thirteen others were wounded.
The shooter was a 17-year-old student at the school.
So in June 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law new school safety legislation. “Just over a year has passed since ten innocent people were killed in a tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School,” he said before signing the new legislation. “We can never erase the pain that this tragedy has caused, but we can act to make our schools safer.”
Texas Senate Bill 11 will provide an additional $110 million over the next two years for school security and better access to mental health resources. It also requires that districts create multihazard emergency plans, use trauma-informed practices, and provide more training to staff.
It’s a sweeping safety bill with some hefty—but worthwhile–new mandates for schools. Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know to comply with SB 11:
Develop District Improvement Plans
- Districts must develop a District Improvement Plan that addresses protocols for suicide prevention, conflict resolution, violence prevention, sexual abuse, and trauma-informed care policies.
- Plans must be evaluated and updated annually.
Conduct Emergency Drills
- Districts must provide school evacuation procedures and designate school drills, including fire exit, lockdown, lockout, shelter-in-place, and evacuation drills.
Develop Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan
- Each school district must implement a multihazard emergency operations plan including mandatory staff training, school drills and exercises to prepare district students and employees for responding to an emergency, with an emphasis on supporting the physiological safety of students, personnel and the community.
- The plan must also include a policy ensuring that substitute teachers are prepared to carry out any duties that would be required of regular staff during an emergency.
Adopt Peace Officer / School Resource Officer Training Policy
- Districts that commission a school peace officer or at which a school resource officer provides law enforcement must adopt a peace officer training policy no later than October 1, 2019.
Implement a Safe and Supportive School Program
- Schools must create threat assessment teams and a safe and supportive school team for each campus to assess threats and to implement a safe and supportive school program developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the TSSC.
Teams must be trained and report directly to the TEA on several topics.
Added Responsibilities for the School Health Advisory Council
- Suicide early warning signs, mental health, and identifying community resources for suicide risks and behavioral health concerns are added to the responsibilities of local school health advisory councils.
Prepare for School Safety Audit
- The Texas School Safety Center (TSSC) may audit a district’s plan and must establish a regular review cycle.
Adopt Substance Abuse and Mental Health Policies and Programs
- Districts must develop policies and programs on mental health promotion and intervention, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention—and include training for counselors, teachers, nurses, administrators, and other staff.
- Districts may also develop a reporting mechanism and a liaison officer to identify students in need of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention.
Adopt a Trauma-Informed Care Policy
- Districts are required to establish a Trauma-Informed Care Policy, train educators at specific intervals, and report training completion to the TEA.
You can find complete details about TX SB 11 by reading the full legislation here.
Even the best new laws can be overwhelming when it comes to compliance. Here’s how PublicSchoolWORKS can help.
Our approach to school safety and compliance has always been more than just technology. Our goal is to ensure that you get peace of mind when it comes to doing all you can to meet your state’s school health and safety requirements.
- Online staff training: Our online Staff Training System completely automates your staff training and offers more than 500 courses to adopt into your training plan. And, our powerful custom course tool allows you to integrate district-specific content (like new policies and employee handbooks) directly into your program.
- Compliance management: Our Compliance Task Management System ensures you never miss a safety drill, helps you keep track of and distribute district policies to parents and staff, and notifies you when it’s time to report key data to stakeholder groups.
- Safety reporting: As part of TX SB 11, districts are encouraged to implement a reporting mechanism to identify students in need of support. Our Stay Safe. Speak Up! Student Safety Reporting System can keep you connected to
students by offering a safe and simple way to report safety, bullying, suicide, or other safety concerns.
- In-house research team: We provide a team of people who are responsible for researching, monitoring and analyzing all federal, state and local regulations so you don’t have to. They’ve been on top of TX SB 11 since the governor introduced his plan in 2018!
Want specific action steps your district should take to comply with TX SB 11? Schedule a call with one of our safety specialists here. Together, let’s keep our schools safe!