Lawmakers want to tighten school security - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers want to tighten school security

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Lawmakers want more cops on campus. They unveiled their funding plans Tuesday at the Capitol.

An hour before Texas lawmakers unveiled the newest plans to better protect students from school shootings there was another incident in Houston. Several were wounded at a junior college.

Senator John Whitmire, Senator Tommy Williams and Representative Dan Huberty want more police officers on campuses. They cited the recent Connecticut tragedy.

"Nobody ever wants to see something like this happen again," said Williams.

Under the "Texas School District Security Act," the lawmakers propose allowing school districts to use money from sales tax revenue or by increasing property taxes to fund the additional security. The issue would need voter approval.

"I believe that this proposal is a Texas solution that will save lives without sacrificing our freedoms," Williams said.

Linda Bridges, president of the Texas branch of American Federation of Teachers, says this is the right way to go.

"Our position is teachers, their role is to teach and law enforcement are the individuals are the ones who should be licensed to handle security on campuses," Bridges said.

Bridges is against efforts to encourage more teachers to carry in the classroom.

"I have yet to find a group of teachers yet that says please arm us because we want to carry weapons in schools," Bridges said. "They really feel that blurs the line of what their role and responsibilities are. They're there to teach. Plus they have security issues about having a gun in the classroom. A lot of teachers don't have locked cabinet and they don't want to carry it with them while their down on the floor with a kindergarten class."

Bridges says this move would open up new funding sources for schools that may not be able to afford officers.

According to the Texas Education Agency, Austin ISD, which has its own police force, spent $9.6 million dollars last school year on security and monitoring. Round Rock ISD spent $2.7 million on security.

Smaller districts like Burnet, Thorndale and Coupland listed $0 in the category.

Parents who we spoke with are divided on the issue.

"Columbine had armed officers. Virginia Tech had its own police force. Neither of those were able to stop the shooting as it occurred, and I don't want my kids to go in an elementary school where they're looking at police officers with guns," said mom Joanna Day.

"Just with everything you're hearing in the news these days we just can't spare anything on the security of our children," said dad Jack Edery.

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