Thousands of Texas Students Staying Home Because of Safety Issues
Do you feel safe sending your child to school?
It seems that many parents did not, as security issues at over 100 schools in Texas caused students to miss classes last year in record numbers.
Texas School Safety Issues
Recent events don't seem to be helping parents feel any better about in-person attendance. According to KHOU, data from the Texas Education Agency shows high absence rates after a variety of threats in the last several months, ranging from physical attacks on campus to social media scares. 26 Texas school districts reported absence rates of up to 77% because of safety threats and concerns.
Earlier this year after campus fights at Kingwood Park High School in Humble ISD, a 70% absence rate was reported the next day. Last year, Frisco ISD canceled all classes and events for two days at Lone Star High School because of threats on social media and via email, according to KXAS.
Random Intruder Detection Audits
After the fatal school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a directive was enacted by Gov. Greg Abbott that included checking school entrances and exits throughout the state. Starting this month, the Texas School Safety Center is conducting 'random intruder detection audits' to find any weak access points in school buildings and protect against external threats. The Texas Tribune reports that the program's goal is to inspect 100% of school districts and 75% of campuses across the state by the end of the school year.
Local law enforcement and central administration will be notified when a campus will be inspected, but according to Texas School Safety Center Executive Director Kathy Martinez-Prather, the school campus itself will not know the audit is occurring. After the audit, the campus will have an opportunity to fix any issues that were found.