Governor holds first of 3 round table discussions on school safety

- In response to the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas Governor Greg Abbott held the first of three round table discussions on Tuesday.

Each meeting will focus on different topics. The first was on school safety. Next, the discussion will be about gun regulations and mental health. Lastly, officials will discuss ways to help shooting victims and their families.

The meetings will bring together people from both political parties.

“The reality is that we all want guns out of hands of those will try to murder our children,” said Abbott. “The question is, what are we, the leaders of Texas, going to do to prevent this from happening again?” 

Media wasn't allowed in the room during the discussion among safety experts, state lawmakers, school administrators, and local law enforcement. However, at the end of meeting Abbott listed more than a dozen ideas they discussed including creating an mobile app for students and teachers to report concerns, more behavioral counseling programs, and creating threat assessment teams.

“We had a very robust, very interactive conversation where I learned far more than I thought I was going to learn,” added Abbott.

Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady was at Tuesday’s meeting. He felt the session was productive.

“Threat assessment was a big one. Improving security especially in the fronts of our schools was also important. Again and again, though, it came back to parents. And, parents need to be parents. They need to be involved in the lives of their kids,” said Roady.

However, ISD police chiefs were not at Tuesday’s meeting. Chief Teresa Ramon, President of the Texas School District Police Chiefs’ Association, says they reached out to the governor’s office multiple times but did not hear back. Ramon says the organization represents about 200 ISD police chiefs.

In a statement, Ramon said, in part, “In today’s environment, successful School District Police Departments require more than just a willingness to work together. It requires the ability to effectively share data, information and intelligence across multiple jurisdictional boundaries in a secure and efficient manner...”

She went on to say, “...We believe the Governor's round table would benefit from the participation of our TSDPCA Board members and some of whom have over 20-30 years of law enforcement experience in the State of Texas.”

A representative from the governor’s office tells FOX 26, she believes an ISD police chief was invited but wasn’t able to make it.

The governor says he’ll decide whether the ideas discussed will be implemented as executive actions or if they’re issues the state legislature will have to tackle.

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