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After Santa Fe Shooting Talks, Abbott Expresses Support For Mental Health Checks, Reporting Stolen Guns

Here are 22 ideas Gov. Abbott shared for stopping school shootings

Texas Governor Greg Abbott convenes the second of three panels studying school safety and student mental health issues at the Texas Capitol in the wake of last week’s Santa Fe High School shooting that left eight students and two teachers dead.

After the second day of discussions on school and gun safety in the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting last week, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday listed several gun-related regulations he said he could support.

The Republican governor met with several lawmakers, mental health experts and advocates on both sides of the gun debate to discuss ways to prevent another mass shooting in Texas. After the three-hour, closed-door meeting, he told the press he could get behind regulations such as reporting the loss or theft of a gun and shortening the time period to report a mental health court judgment.

Though he mentioned several initiatives that would require legislative changes, such as hiring more behavioral counselors for schools, he continued to avoid talk of bringing lawmakers back to Austin for a special session.

Here are the 22 ideas the governor shared:

1. Adding “more behavioral counseling with increase of staffing” at schools. 

2. “Creating threat assessment teams.” Abbott said the development of a statewide threat assessment program received universal support during the roundtable.

3. Mandating “better coordination between school and law enforcement officials.”

4. Creating “programs that reward students for sharing information” about potential shooters.

5. Implementing strategies that “make it easier to share information.”

6. Upgrading “physical facilities, especially entryways, exits and cameras” to protect schools. 

7. Creating “a statewide intelligence-monitoring service concerning social media of students.”

8. Encouraging schools to hire “early intervention counselors starting even as early as kindergarten, certainly elementary.”

9. “Hardening our schools” to make them physically more secure against school shooters.

10. Ensuring school administrators better share information about potentially dangerous students among schools across the state.

11. Mandating “collaboration between law enforcement and schools” to create emergency action plans.

12. Creating “comprehensive training, informing students, parents and teachers how to relay information.”

13. Putting officers at “the front” of schools.

14. Improving “training for the school marshal program,” which trains teachers and staff to carry firearms on campus. 

15. Boosting funding for the school marshal program, to make sure every school can participate if it wants to.

16. Increasing parent accountability. “How in the world can a parent either not know about or not be accountable for a situation where a student may be bringing a gun or a knife to a school?” Abbott said. “Parents are partly responsible for this and need to be held accountable.”

17. “Mandating parent training.”

18. Intervening with students who “have demonstrated challenges, probably through a more robust school counselor process – intervening into behavior that could lead to school shootings.”

19. Developing threat-assessment programs for all schools in Texas.

20. Putting more metal detectors in schools. “They work for some schools, in other settings they may not work,” the governor said. “It needs to be one of the strategies on the table.”

21. Identifying mental health challenges for students and helping respond to those challenges and get students the counseling they need.

22. Creating an app to view streaming video of school security cameras. “Why can we not allow parents, students and law enforcements and others to be able to monitor, basically on a 24-7 basis, the cameras in these schools?” Abbott said. 

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