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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Offers 10 Metal Detectors To Santa Fe ISD

The school board still needs to approve the installation.

Texas school administrators and law enforcement leaders meet for a round table discussion with Governor Greg Abbott and other state politicians to kick off a three-day series of round table discussions at the State Capitol focusing on school safety in response to the recent Santa Fe High School shooting.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said he would donate ten more metal detectors to improve security district-wide at Santa Fe Independent School District in addition to detectors offered by one company after the shooting that left ten dead in May.

Parents asked the Santa Fe school board to install detectors last week at the first board meeting since the shooting, but the district still has yet to decide if it will use the machines.

Along with the donation, Patrick said the Texas Senate would create a matching fund program for other schools that want to install their own metal detectors.

In a press release, Patrick said schools that install detectors or buy detection wands before next legislative session will be reimbursed retroactively through that program.

Those new security protocols will be in place before the start of the school year, pending district approval, Patrick said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks at the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio on Friday, June 15, 2018.

“Santa Fe parents have asked for immediate action to secure the entrances to their schools and I want to make sure that if the Santa Fe ISD School Board wants to install metal detectors they can do so,” Patrick said in a statement.

Patrick’s announcement fits with a broader strategy from Texas Republicans, who in the wake of the fatal May 18 shooting and a fall 2017 shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs have focused on making schools and other public venues less vulnerable as targets. In May, Gov. Greg Abbott laid out a 40-page plan for protecting schools; his pitches ranged from increased mental health screenings to new emergency safety measures to a few, narrow gun-related proposals, including consideration of a “red flag” law in Texas that would allow local officials to seize weapons from individuals declared dangerous by a judge.

Patrickwho presides over the Texas Senate, also pledged Monday that in the next legislative session, the upper chamber would create a matching fund program to support installing metal detectors in other school districts. That program will include reimbursements for school districts that purchase such protections before the next session begins.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, Patrick drew rebukes and mockery for saying “there are too many entrances and too many exits” to Texas schools. Experts said that schools have long been designed with such safety concerns in mind.

“On the day of the shooting in Santa Fe, I made securing the entrances and exits to our schools a top priority,” Patrick said Monday. “Santa Fe parents have asked for immediate action to secure the entrances to their schools and I want to make sure that if the Santa Fe ISD School Board wants to install metal detectors they can do so.”

Patrick also said Monday he supports increasing funding for an existing state program that arms school personnel. He has also charged a select committee within the Texas Senate to study school safety.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

General Assignments Reporter

Davis Land is a general assignment reporter for Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media/Transom.org in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a...

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