They have protected America at home and overseas. Now Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the time has come to enlist America’s veterans to help protect Texas schools.
The Republican governor unveiled his School and Firearm Safety Action Plan last week, which represents his official response to the Santa Fe High School attack. The plan’s many recommendations include tapping retired law enforcement members and veterans to serve as armed guards, Breitbart reported.
“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” Abbott said in a statement on his website. “It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school. This plan will make our schools safer and our communities safer.”
Abbott said those with the most training in keeping Americans safe can be a great resource for Texas schools.
“Texas retired and off-duty peace officers already have extensive firearms and emergency response training — and many would be willing and able to protect Texas campuses,” Abbott’s plan said.
“Texas should authorize schools to prioritize recruitment and hiring of such personnel to protect their campuses and their student bodies, faculty, employees and guests. Hiring should prioritize individuals with the most applicable skill sets (i.e., former police, sheriffs and constables).
”Abbott called for the creation of a school marshal program that would allow veterans to serve the children and teachers of Texas.
“In addition, the state should create a pathway for our veterans — many of whom have extensive firearm training — to help protect our schools through a modified school marshal program that ensures they have the appropriate training to transition their expertise into the campus environment,” Abbott wrote in his plan.
“Veterans who complete tailored training and background checks should have the ability to once again serve their communities in times of need.”
Getting tough will also be accompanied by increased vigilance of social media, where many threats begin brewing, the Texas Tribune reported.
The plan calls for the Texas Department of Public Safety to launch an app called “iWatch Texas,” to serve as a statewide repository of concerns, to minimize cases that fall through the cracks between multiple reporting systems.
“For example, a student may report strange behavior and statements made by another student,” the plan said. “Later that day, a citizen reports that the same student was attempting to purchase ammunition at a sporting goods store and became belligerent when refused. The iWatch system would link these separate incidents, and all future reports involving this student on or off campus would be monitored by law enforcement.”
That would then connect with increased monitoring of social media.
“Several recent perpetrators of mass shootings had left clues as to their potential homicidal or suicidal intent on publicly accessible social media sites in the months before committing their crimes,” the plan said.
Abbott said his recommendations were developed, in part, by hearing from shooting victims and their families.
“No one provided a more powerful voice for those strategies than the victims themselves,” Abbott said.
“We all share a common bond. We want action to prevent another shooting like what happened at Santa Fe High School,” he said, according to WFAA.