Governor signs school safety, mental health bill

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 6 signed three bills into law to improve school safety and expand access to mental health resources.

“After the horrific shooting (at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018) and the subsequent school safety roundtables, I made school safety an emergency item to help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again,” Abbott said. “Today, I am proud to sign legislation to make Texas schools safer for students and teachers. I thank members from both chambers, as well as the many stakeholders, who worked tirelessly to get these bills through the Legislature and to my desk today.”

—Senate Bill 11, by Senate Education Chair Larry Taylor and sponsored by Rep. Greg Bonnen, both R-Friendswood, strengthens emergency preparedness and response protocols, improves school facilities standards, establishes better threat assessment protocols, and provides schools more funding for school safety efforts, Abbott said. The bill also establishes the Texas Child Mental Health Consortium to leverage higher education expertise in the state to improve the mental health care systems for Texas children.

—House Bill 18 by House Calendars Committee Chair Walter “Four” Price IV, R-Amarillo, and sponsored by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, increases mental health training for educators and other school professionals to aid in early identification and intervention; emphasizes importance of mental health education for students; and improves access to mental and behavioral health services through school-based mental health centers and the hiring of mental health professionals.



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