Committee suggests mental health focus, marshal program to prevent school shootings

A Texas senate committee formed to prevent school violence has come up with recommendations to improve campus safety.

Officer T. Bennet is a school resource officer at Glenn High School.

Before that, he used to patrol the streets.

“You're still looking at a lot of the same issues, drugs, violence, etc.,” he said.

But one thing he said he loves about his new gig, connecting with the students.

“They come up and shake my hand or they come up and give me a fist bump,” said Bennett.

Bennett is one of five officers from the Leander Police Department who work the schools. They are on the frontline to respond to anything from a fight, to a school shooting.

“One of the worst things you can be in this job is complacent, and just think it's not going to happen here,” said Bennett.

Monday, the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security released recommendations to reduce school violence. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick formed the committee in the wake of the Santa Fe school shooting.

Recommendations include, increasing funds for school marshal programs, possibly buying metal detectors, and better training counselors to address mental health crises.

“It's not cheap to do some of these programs. With extra money you can have extra programs. There are a lot of things we can do to make schools safer,” said Bennett.

But if it means saving the lives of staff and students, Bennett thinks it could be worth the dollars.

Dan Patrick released this statement after the findings.

" This report will help us develop legislation for a comprehensive school security effort to meet the increased challenges we face today...."