Texas educators will soon have the opportunity to provide critically necessary input on the level of preparedness of our schools to respond to active shooter situations and other crises. Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced that school safety survey would go to some 500,000 educators, although not all, so some of you will be receiving a link for the online survey.
As educators, ensuring our students’ safety and health is our number one priority, so you are an important expert on these matters. This survey is the largest needs assessment on school safety in Texas history and your participation is needed to properly inform policymakers about what our schools need.
The goal of the survey, which was commissioned by the Office of the Governor, is to inform lawmakers of ways in which the State of Texas can further support educators’ and students’ needs regarding safety, mental health, and violence in schools.
The survey will be conducted by Sam Houston State University and the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University. Participation is voluntary and would require completion of a confidential online survey that is estimated to take 20 minutes to complete.
For some guidance, below is list of common sense measures recommended by AFT to stop gun violence in schools and institutions of higher education:
- Schools should refrain from conducting active shooter drills that are unannounced and from drills that simulate gun violence. Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (Everytown), the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association released a new report about the impact and efficacy of active shooter drills, which also includes guidelines and best practices for schools that choose to drill students about active shooters;
- Educators should oppose wrong-headed and counterproductive ideas like arming faculty and staff. Only trained law enforcement officers should be armed;
- States and the federal government should implement reforms such as bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, background checks and other vetting processes;
- Expand mental health care for all and expand access to public mental health facilities and services for all Americans;
- Fully staff every school in America with qualified mental health counseling to identify and intervene before students reach a crisis point; and
- Support the courageous efforts of the survivors of gun violence at Santa Fe, Stoneman Douglas, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and too many other schools and institutions of higher education.
If you have any questions or concerns about this survey or if you would like additional guidance, please contact the state office at firstname.lastname@example.org.