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State Senator: Students Will Play Critical Role In Preventing Future School Shootings

State Sen. Larry Taylor says student vigilance will be just one part of a multifaceted solution to preventing further school shootings.

Ten roses left in memory of the victims killed in a shooting at the Santa Fe High School.

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Santa Fe, Gov. Greg Abbott is hosting a series of roundtable discussions about preventing future such incidents. Republican State Sen. Larry Taylor represents the 11th District, which includes Santa Fe. He told Houston Matters host Craig Cohen he’s open to the possibility of a special session of the Texas Legislature, should the governor call one to address this issue. Lawmakers aren’t scheduled to be in session until January.

Taylor said the idea of the roundtables is to bring in stakeholders and experts from various backgrounds — from educators, to security experts, to mental health professionals.

“It’s such a complex issue there’s not one answer,” he said. “And, if there was one answer, it might work for one campus but not work for another. So, it’s just very multifaceted. So, bring in all these people in — hopefully in a spirit of unity — to try and find some real solutions and not argue about some of the things that people argue about.”

He said some people have suggested putting metal detectors at all schools, but that might not work at every campus and at every district. Others have suggested doors with limited access during school hours, but there are challenges to that at some campuses.

“Each school is going to have to do an assessment of their own campuses and what’s going to work best in those campuses,” Taylor said.

He said students will play an important role in improving school safety too. And they might have to get used to a new reality of heightened awareness, much like many adults did after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Look out for your fellow students,” he said. “When you see lonely students or loner-type students walk up to them, talk to them, see if you can’t develop relationships with them. And, frankly, when you see changes in people’s personality or how they’re dressing all of a sudden make people aware because no one knows the fellow student better than the other students. And I think they’re going to have to be our first line of defense.”

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