This blog post comes to you from AList Consulting, which provides bipartisan updates on Texas policy and politics. Texas updates are posted here to help Texas school leaders stay in the know about policies that may affect them, empowering them to advocate for the futures of their schools.

House Bill 3, School Safety Bill

House Bill 3, from the 88th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, is jam-packed with various school safety and security measures, including the requirement of an armed security officer for each campus and random-onsite annual audits and compliance monitoring by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). HB 3 takes effect September 1, 2023, and applies to both traditional districts and public charter schools alike.

Fiscally, HB 3 authorizes the use of bond proceeds to be used to pay the costs associated with complying with school safety and security requirements. HB 3 also amends the school-safety allotment, providing $15,000 per campus and raising the allotment to $10 per student in average daily attendance plus $1 per student in average daily attendance for every $50 basic allotment increase.

As for the armed security officer, each school board must determine the appropriate number of armed security officers for each campus, with at least one-armed security officer present during regular school hours. The security officer must be a school district police officer, a school resource officer, or a commissioned peace officer employed as security personnel. A school board can claim a good cause exception to the armed security officer requirement due to lack of funding or qualified personnel.

As noted above, TEA is required to monitor compliance with the new HB 3 security requirements. This includes conducting random onsite audits annually and intruder detection audits. HB 3 also authorizes the establishment of an Office of School Safety and Security within TEA. John P. Scott is the Chief of Safety and Security at TEA.

Each school shall provide to DPS and all local law enforcement agencies and emergency first responders an accurate map of each district campus and school building and provide DPS and local law enforcement an opportunity to conduct a walk-through of each district campus and school building using the provided maps.

TEA will adopt rules governing new and existing instructional facilities to ensure student safety, including construction quality and other standards related to the safety and security of school facilities. The Texas School Safety Center, at least once every five years, must review the building standards for instructional facilities and make recommendations to TEA on necessary changes to ensure student safety.

As we move towards September 1st when HB 3 takes effect, stay tuned to TEA and the Texas School Safety Center for critical updates on implementation of HB 3 requirements.

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