Abbott Announces $105.5 Million For School Safety, Most Goes To Shields For Officers
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, et. al, have announced an additional $105.5 million dollars for school safety, to include mental health initiatives, according to a press release from the Governor's office.
Nearly half of the funds are for shields for law enforcement officers.
And Texas AFT, a union of Texas educators, is disappointed by the allocation of funds.
The funds were specifically designed to address the tragedy in Uvalde, yet the majority of the funds are directed toward security measures that would not have prevented the shooting.
Another $7 million is for rapid response training for officers, and $17.1 million is allocated to purchase silent panic alert technology. Only 10% of the transfer is going to mental health services for children, most of it telehealth technology, so not an actual, live therapist on site.
Meanwhile, Texas recently made it easier for 18 to 20-year-olds to carry handguns in public. The Uvalde shooter was 18 years old and had displayed extremely violent attitudes prior to the incident, in fact, he was nicknamed "school shooter".
I don't have the answers on how to totally prevent school shootings, and I don't think any one person does, either.
However, if state officials truly feel that this is a mental health crisis problem, I would like to see funds set aside for in-person therapy that is accessible, if not mandatory, for all students. Growing up has always been hard- but imagine growing up in an age in which the threat of being murdered randomly at school looms over you constantly. That can't be good for kids, and they all deserve a professional they can speak to confidentially.
Imagine how many cases of child abuse would be caught early on. Imagine how many suicides could be prevented. Imagine the character of the young adults who had positive experiences with mental health, inside of feeling like they had to bear this reality alone. It might not prevent every school shooting, but preventing even one makes it well worth it, in addition to all the benefits I've already listed.