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Texas Moms Demand Action, Everytown Criticize Governor Abbott For Signing Bill That Put School Children at Risk

June 6, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today criticized Governor Abbott for signing HB 1387 into law. The new law allows an unlimited number of teachers and staff across the state to be armed in schools.

“Make no mistake: Governor Abbott’s decision today will have negative consequences for our children,” said Hilary Whitfield, volunteer leader with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “With an unlimited number of guns allowed in schools, it’s only a matter of time until a child is unintentionally injured. So our fight doesn’t end here; we’ll be going district to district to urge school boards to reject this risky, misguided program.”

HB 1387 would increase the number of guns in schools, despite the fact that there is no evidence indicating that arming teachers makes schools safer. Further, SB 11, also signed by Governor Abbott, provides additional funding to pay for the expanded School Marshal program. Though the bill also includes proven policies that help make schools safer — like mental health counseling and threat assessment programs — the combination of this bill and HB 1387 drastically increases the potential risk posed to children in Texas schools.

Many parents and education experts fear that increasing the number of guns in schools will make Black and brown students — who are already disciplined at a disproportionate rate compared to their white peers — fear for their safety.

Guns in schools are often mishandled and unintentionally discharged, even when they are carried by trained law enforcement. In April in Texas, a police officer assigned to a high school in Mesquite unintentionally discharged his gun at school. In Milwaukee, a 10-year-old student was grazed by a bullet after a gun brought to school by an employee discharged. And in St. Paul, Minnesota, a student found a gun in a bathroom that an employee had left unattended.

Classroom teachers and school staff carrying guns in schools also complicates law enforcement response to active shooter situations. Southlake Police Chief James Brandon called putting guns in the hands of teachers a “nightmare situation,” citing the fact that even the best police officers see their accuracy decrease when trying to fight an armed suspect.

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