When children are murdered at school, the conversation gets candid, even with sensitive subjects.
A magnified focus on student communication and parent involvement are just some of the many ideas that came pouring out of Gov. Greg Abbott’s round table discussions on shootings and school safety.
Hays County Lt. Jeri Skrocki described the discussions as nonpolitical and constructive.
“I am so incredibly pleased at what I had the opportunity to be a part of,” she said.
Skrocki was one of about 25 people invited to the round table discussion that took place Tuesday in Austin, four days after 10 people were killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School.
Skrocki and Abbott said the first topics brought up in the discussion, parent involvement and accountability, are not typically a lead topic after school shootings.
“All of these students are children of parents. How in the world can a parent not be accountable for being in a situation where a student may be bringing a gun or a knife or another weapon to a school?” Abbott said.
The group discussed a mandatory training specifically for parents that they believe could aid in preventing shootings.
“We need an intervention for students who have demonstrated challenges, and talked about different ways to deliver that intervention, probably through a more robust school counselor process,” Abbott said.
This type of intervention is suggested to start as early as elementary school.
Hays County has been commended for its standard response protocol, which includes every school in the county.
The diverse group of experts and administrators at the round table were impressed with the program’s emphasis on communicating potential threats.
“It's see something, say something immediately and not just go back and talk to my friends, knowing that it's OK for me to go up to my teacher and interrupt and say, ‘I just saw a guy in school and he doesn't look right,’” Skrocki said.
Abbott said many of the ideas discussed are going to be implemented immediately, including Hays County’s standard protocol training. He has set a deadline to accomplish these changes by the fall semester of the new school year.