Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Following Conn. massacre, state leaders look to improve school safety

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TWC News: Following Conn. massacre, state leaders look to improve school safety
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As people across the nation continue to come to terms with Friday's elementary school massacre in Connecticut, many are asking what they can do to keep the nations’ students safe—including local lawmakers and school administrators.

"Math, science, english, social studies—they're very important, but keeping our children from harm is our number one priority," Pete Price, principal of O. Henry Middle School, said.

Texas has more than 1000 school districts and Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday that safety plans are lacking in about 80 of those districts - about half have plans that don’t meet Texas’ safety standards, and the others never submitted plans.

"You can be assured when lawmakers come back to town, they will have protecting children at the top of their list," Abbott said.

But the debate on how schools should best safeguard their students has been nothing short of controversial.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is pro-gun and has been very vocal in his stance, saying the solution comes down to properly arming officials within schools.

“As several school districts in Texas now provide for, they have school staff who are carrying hand guns that are licensed under the Texas conceal handgun law,” Patterson said. “That makes us safer."

Not everyone agrees that an increased gun presence is the answer.

Politics aside, schools across the state already undergo safety drills and many have increased safety measures. Some have installed video cameras and now require visitors to check in.

"Schools have proven time and time again that they're one of the safest places for children," Principal Price said. "But when these types of events occur, we do review and reflect to ensure that we are implementing best practices."

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