Texas Governor Releases School Security Plan
On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a 44-page school security plan. The release comes after last month’s shooting at Santa Fe High School.
Abbott unveiled the plan at a press conference referring to it as “a starting point, not an ending place.” Abbott said the plan would be implemented before next school season.
The press conference begins around the 57-minute mark.
Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his school-safety plan at the Dallas ISD Education Center. The announcements starts at 57:35.
Posted by Dallas ISD on Wednesday, May 30, 2018
The “SCHOOL AND FIREARM SAFETY ACTION PLAN,” as it is titled, is not a step in the right direction, as far as I’m concerned, as it grows government and puts a heavy emphasis on mental health, something that government has no business being involved in.
Abbott is planning to utilize $120 million of state and federal grants to implement the plan and says his office is working to make about $90 million more available.
Here’s where that money is going to go to implement the plan.
- Deploying Crisis Response Counselors To Meet Immediate Mental Health Needs – A crisis response team (CRT) consisting of 4-6 rotating crisis certified counselors from the National Organization of Victim Assistance (NOVA) was deployed immediately to provide psychological first aid, trauma mitigation, and education to the community. They are working to ensure continuity of services to the community by setting up a Family Resiliency Center (FRC). The FRC will include multi-disciplinary services available to community members in need and will be operational for 2-3 weeks at which point Gulf Coast Center (the Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA)) will take over. This follows the standard crisis response model, and trained FRC staff from Parkland, Florida are on-site assisting. CJD has an application open for NOVA to reimburse for personnel costs, travel, lodging, per diem and other associated costs.
- Assisting Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Efforts to Provide a Long-Term Behavioral Health Response – HHSC will be providing the oversight and coordination needed for the long-term behavioral health response in Santa Fe, following the evidence-based Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Behavioral Health model that is currently being used in the Hurricane Harvey response. CJD grant funding will assist in covering associated costs.
- Ensuring First Responders Have Mental Health Resources – Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has set up an off-site location outside incident command perimeters that is serving as a station for respite and psychological first aid for law enforcement and first responders. First responders exposed to mass violence and trauma should participate in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) to mitigate the impact of the traumatic incident and facilitate the normal recovery processes of those who are distressed by unusually disturbing events. This is done in a controlled, peer-based environment 72 hours after the event. Several post-critical incident seminars (PCIS) are planned, and CJD funds will reimburse SHSU for personnel, transportation, lodging and per diem costs. This project will serve as a pilot project for other CISD/PCIS grant projects planned.
- Providing Additional Counselors to ISDs in the Santa Fe Area – In order to build immediate capacity for counselors in the region, CJD funds will be used to provide four contractual counselors to Education Service Center (ESC) Region 4 who will work with Santa Fe ISD counselors and the surrounding region. ESC 4 counselors will provide counseling to school districts in the area on an as-needed basis on request from other ISDs. ISDs with limited to no mental health resources will request the ESC’s counseling staff to provide ad-hoc counseling services for campuses if students have been identified as being exposed to crime (including trauma) at home or at school. These counselors will provide early in-person intervention to these students with behavioral health issues. This
project could serve as a pilot for future mental health resources located at ESCs which when combined with the Telemedicine Wellness Intervention Triage and Referral (TWITR) Program expansion will ensure more comprehensive mental health services in educational settings.
- Providing Highly-Trained Counselors to Santa Fe ISD for the Upcoming School Year – Santa Fe ISD is currently in need of crisis response certified counselors who will be provided by NOVA at this time. While the current volume of counseling requests from students is low, those who are in need of services are requiring highly intensive and specialized care. In order to ensure long-term care is provided to Santa Fe ISD next school year, CJD is providing funding for 4-6 counselors who will receive advanced training to serve this population and help school staff identify warning signs of behavioral health issues on campus. This should be closely coordinated with the federal SERV grant discussed below – a funding stream that is more expansive on eligible uses but will take longer for Santa Fe to receive and use than CJD’s funding.
- Coordinating Long-Term Community Mental Health Efforts – As the designated LMHA, Gulf Coast Center (GCC) will be responsible for coordinating and conducting long-term behavioral health care for the community. Once the immediate CRT response has concluded in mid-June, GCC will be developing individualized care plans, counseling services, and coordinating referrals. CJD funding will provide for licensed therapists and clinicians, trauma specialists, case workers, outreach workers and administrative staff.
This is super problematic as the state assumes they have authority to identify who is a mental health problem. That is not their responsibility. That is the responsibility of the family. Furthermore, Abbott encouraged more spending on mental health by the legislature.
“The strategy that I most strongly encourage the legislature to consider is greater investment in mental health, especially in crisis intervention counselors,” Abbott said. “As long as mental health challenges trouble our children, there will never be enough safety barriers that we can build to protect our students. If, however, we can address mental health challenges faced by our students it will do more than just make our schools safer.”
If there is a crime, deal with that, but that is not where this led to. In fact, by not dealing with the unconstitutional infringements on the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms in these so-called “gun free zones,” schools will continue to be soft targets despite suggestions for “hardening” schools by installing active shooter alarms, providing training, and increasing new security measures.
It would be far less expensive and less invasive to simply recognize the right of the people in the matter and let the people do their duty to defend themselves, but this is what I have warned about. The left attacks our rights head on and the right seeks to grow government without pushing back on what has been infringed.
Yes, schools will become more and more like prisons.
The report, published Wednesday, provides some 40 suggestions for school safety and security, preventing threats, and gun storage as well as ways to fund such endeavors. A critical component of the plan is increasing armed security at schools. The report suggests collaborating with local law enforcement to heighten police presence on campuses as well as hiring more school security. Ideas include adding a police satellite office inside school buildings and expanding the school marshal programs, which trains teachers who volunteer to be armed.
Most of the plans for enhancing firearms safety would require legislative action. Those suggestions include improving criminal record keeping and expediting reporting periods, strengthening firearm storage laws, and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns.
“I doubt there has been a Texas governor with a more pro-gun record than myself … I can assure you I will never allow Second Amendment rights to be infringed, but I will always promote responsible gun ownership,” Abbott said as he listed off pro-gun legislation he had signed and cases he fought as state attorney general.
While he has advanced some of that, the problem is that he is continuing to allow the rights of gun owners to be infringed wherever any law restricts them from carrying their weapons, including public schools. This is what people need to understand.
And because people don’t understand this one little thing, they will be hit in their pocketbook for something that will not only not be effective, but now is moving into the state looking after the issue of mental health. Buckle up Texas, this is only the beginning.
Article posted with permission from Freedom Outpost