In this coming academic year, Texas State University’s Texas School Safety Center (TXSC) will conduct random intruder audits in every school district across the state. The stated goal of these exercises will be to identify weak access points on 75% of Texas school campuses. Gov. Greg Abbott approved this new directive in response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 students and two teachers dead in May. This decision comes after advocates voiced criticisms and concerns about the lack of a state response.
The idea of getting “grown men to show up to schools unannounced and try as hard as they can to find a way in” is of great concern, Texas AFT-endorsed State Rep. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio said in response to the new directive. The TXSC was directed to coordinate with local law and state law enforcement agencies, but they will not inform schools when those security audits will take place or when they are finished.
Texas AFT joins advocates and organizations in expressing skepticism and concern about the governor’s new directive. The No. 1 priority in our public schools is the safety of students and the staff who support them every day. However, a directive to this degree with no coordination or transparency with school districts could have unintended consequences and make our public schools less safe.