Yesterday, schools across Texas went into lockdown amid reported active shooter threats, triggering law enforcement responses in Houston, Waco, Pflugerville, and Whitney Independent School Districts (ISDs). At Heights High School in Houston, video shows armed law enforcement officers sweeping a classroom for signs of an active shooter as students sit with their hands raised in the air. Thankfully, all of the reported threats made yesterday turned out to be false alarms.
Yesterday’s incidents are not isolated. According to reports, Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD will have an increased law enforcement presence for the rest of the week after several social media threats were made against the school today. And just last week, reports of a possible firearm on campus at New Braunfels High School resulted in a massive law enforcement response, an hours-long lockdown, and classroom evacuations. While no one was injured in any of these incidents, these lockdowns are traumatizing for the students and staff involved as well as for the parents who are forced to rush to the schools or wait to hear that their children are safe.
Since the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Governor Greg Abbott and Texas lawmakers have failed to take any meaningful action on gun safety. As a result of this inaction and Governor Abbott’s years-long efforts to advance the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda, students and staff across Texas have had to return to school in fear that gunfire could ring out at any time.
Thankfully, in the absence of action from state lawmakers, local school districts are taking matters into their own hands and working with gun safety advocates to help keep students safe. Just this week, following advocacy from Moms Demand Action volunteers, Frisco ISD passed a resolution to require district schools to notify parents and caretakers about secure firearm storage, a critical step that will help protect the district’s more than 66,000 students from gun violence. And recently, Dallas ISD updated their student handbook to include similar secure firearm storage information. Research shows that secure firearm storage is one of the best ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and these local measures will go far in helping protect Texas children in and out of the classroom.
Governor Abbott should take a cue from local leaders and take immediate action to address the state’s gun violence crisis, starting by calling a special session to repeal permitless carry, require background checks on all gun sales, enact an Extreme Risk law, prohibit assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and raise the age to purchase a gun.
Texas leads the nation in the number of school shootings since 2012, and guns are the leading cause of death among the state’s youth population. More information about gun violence in Texas is available here, and Everytown’s report on school safety is available here.