School safety is turning into a larger topic in Texas after State Senator Larry Taylor wrote a comprehensive bill intending to improve the safety at schools. School districts are already planning to implement school safety programs with the rollout of Senate Bill 11, a sweeping school safety bill that will affect all Independent School Districts (ISD) in Texas by September 2019.
The purpose of Senate Bill 11 is to improve school safety and ensure campus faculty is equipped to handle emergencies. Independent school districts will receive up to $50 per student over the next two years, with a state cap of $531 million, to improve the infrastructure of school safety.
What is Senate Bill 11?
- Senate Bill 11 “improves school safety at each campus in the State of Texas,” said Rep. Greg Bonnen.
- This bill ensures school districts’ employees, including substitute teachers, are equipped to respond to emergencies by requiring they have classroom access to a telephone and other electronic communication.
- It authorizes independent school districts to issue bonds for the retrofitting of school busses with emergency, safety, or security equipment.
- Districts will receive $50 per student, with a total cost of $531M to the state, over the next 2 years for improving school infrastructures, purchasing security cameras, hiring peace officers, hiring mental health personnel, and other relevant expenses.
Funding for All by the Fall
Although the funding is intended to reach all independent school districts, schools can miss out on the funding if programs are not implemented within the district by September 2019.
With the funding of Senate Bill 11, districts and faculty will feel more equipped to handle emergencies. Students and parents have vocally supported this bill to feel safer at schools.
The Yellow School Bus Solution
As part of this bill, districts are authorized to issue bonds for the retrofitting of school busses with emergency, safety, or security equipment.
Two Way Direct has partnered with top manufactures and FirstNet professionals to create a custom solution for school busses that will keep faculty connected at all times through FirstNet®, a broadband network designed for first responders. Under the FirstNet Texas state contract, schools are eligible to receive free devices, first responder rate plans, and initial activation credits to help with the transition and implementation.
Our yellow-bus solution offers instant, area-wide communication, enhanced push-to-talk (EPTT) directly to talk groups and first responders, and a securely mounted device with a hands-free compliant operation. In addition to complying with the guidelines of the bill, faculty will have access to apps, interoperability, student accountability, GPS tracking, parent app features, and more.
Safety Programs for Schools
Many school districts across the country are taking similar initiatives as part of their documented emergency management system by recommending three to five emergency communication devices per school. Other schools have partnered with police departments to take extra precautions with weekend safety drills.
Safety programs in Texas need to be implemented by September 2019, to ensure funding from Senate Bill 11. If you’d like more information on how we can help your school safety plan call us directly at (888) 742-5893.