This week, Governor Abbott has been meeting with lawmakers, parents, students, and teachers to talk about school safety. The school shooting in Santa Fe - that killed eight students and two teachers - was at the center of these discussions at the state capitol.
On day 3 of the roundtable discussion with the governor we got to hear from many people. That includes survivors of last week's shooting at Santa Fe High, the church shooting last year in Sutherland Springs, and the 2016 shooting at Alpine High School.
Lawmakers listening in and asking what can they do to help them feel more protected in our schools in Texas. "This was a very productive part of the conversation. 90 percent of the conversation consisted of listening."
Senator Ted Cruz was one of many lawmakers in attendance.
"The number one most frequent solution that we heard today and what I heard last Friday in Santa Fe is the need for additional armed police officers on school campuses. The police officers at Santa Fe were heroic. If they were not there many people would have been murdered that morning,” Cruz adds.
There were about 50 people in attendance on the 3rd day of Governor Greg Abbott’s roundtable discussion about school safety. Among them--about 30 Santa Fe High school students-- family members and residents-and folks from Sutherland Springs-- and Alpine High School. The room bonded by one unfortunate commonality, all of them impacted by a mass shooting in Texas.
"Originally when the shooting happened it immediately takes you back to what happened in our area in Sutherland Springs and our hearts are just breaking for the families. So it's a different situation but it's the same situation and how do we try and fight evil and protect our communities."
Audrey Gossett Lewis is the District Attorney for Sutherland Springs and says she’s happy with how today’s discussion turned out.
"What I was asked to talk about was the recovery efforts what my office assisted with Sutherland Springs the survivors and the families of those who were killed. Obviously for that case there was no perpetrator to prosecute which is my primary role. So secondarily we help with crime victims compensation making sure victims get what they need to recover."
Students stood up and made several suggestions as well:
- Including having random bag checks
- Having a heavier police presence on campus so they can check classrooms periodically
Parents touched on school counseling and teachers getting a better feel of their students emotionally.
Senator Cruz says in addition to these suggestions, there was much concern about the infrastructure of the schools. Hardening doors and locking them, so folks can't get inside the school.
"Another thing I've been hearing from parents and teachers and students in Santa Fe is for teachers to be armed. When I was in Santa Fe talking to a victim who had been shot in the hospital he said he was in the adjoining classroom of the art room where the shooter was. And he said his teacher is a marine and if he had a gun he would have shot the killer and been able to save lives."
Governor Abbott says discussions on how to pay for any of this week’s proposed ideas would take place later.