Leading the Way in School Safety

In the fall of 2019, Governor Greg Abbott commissioned Texas’ School Safety Action Plan. The plan articulated ways in which the state of Texas will support educators’ needs regarding safety, mental health and violence in schools.

As part of the plan, SHSU created a survey to gauge school preparedness before, during and after crisis events such as active shooters or natural disasters. The survey was sent to more than 500,000 state educators in hopes of gaining the best sample of data.

Professors Matt Fuller of the College of Education and Jason Ingram of the College of Criminal Justice are working together preparing how to effectively understand what educators, from kindergarten through higher education, feel needs to be done to address ongoing public safety issues for Texas children.

“We are asking meaningful questions in order to get authentic results,” Fuller said. “We need to know the best ways to serve communities and help with statewide services."

"These emergencies are the worst kind of situation to deal with, but we want to make sure communities can bounce back faster and not go through anything alone.” - Matt Fuller

The survey is the largest needs assessment on the topic of school safety in the state’s history. It is being called “the tip of the spear in responding to school safety concerns” by Texas legislators, as these research results could impact policy for legislation and budget for school safety in the future.

The grant also helped establish the Center of Assessment, Research, and Educational Safety (C.A.R.E.S.) at SHSU, ensuring this newly collected data does not go to waste. Stacie Szaal, project manager for C.A.R.E.S. says they are prepared to do what it takes to best use this crucial research.

“The more information we have, the better we will be able to serve students,” Szaal said. “I am willing to go through hundreds of thousands of answers and put this research data together, if at the end of the day that means we are going to make students safer.” 

SHSU will present the report to the Governor’s Office and other state agencies this fall. Statewide webinars will also be hosted to disseminate results.

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