Panic buttons, locked doors for Texas schools
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Texas public schools would have to install panic buttons in classrooms and ensure all doors and windows are locked and monitored under new proposed safety standards released last week by the Texas Education Agency.
The proposal is the latest effort to strengthen school safety after 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde last May in the state’s deadliest school shooting.
The Dallas Morning News reported that school districts in coming weeks can apply for grants from TEA to cover spending on security-related items, including installment of silent panic buttons this year. Each district will receive at least $200,000, with funds awarded on a per-student count.
Districts would also be required to undergo twice-annual maintenance checks to make sure that two-way radio equipment used by law enforcement and first responders works inside their school buildings. Previous reports indicate poor radio communication was one reason law enforcement didn’t confront the gunman for more than an hour in Uvalde.
Wildfire safety urged during hunting season
Deer season is underway, and the Texas A&M Forest Service urges hunters to be careful with activities that may cause a wildfire this hunting season. From 2017 to 2021 the forest service responded to 3,682 wildfires that burned 1.4 million acres. During that period, 42% of wildfires occurred during the major hunting season months of September through January.
“Texas A&M Forest Service wants all hunters to be safe this upcoming season,” said Karen Stafford of the forest service. “We all have a role to play in protecting our state from wildfires, so remember to do your part and don’t let a wildfire start.”
Hunters are urged to avoid driving over and parking on dry grass, which could spark a fire; to check for burn bans in effect; never leave a campfire unattended; and to always carry a fire extinguisher, shovel and water to camp.
Emergency SNAP benefits again extended
Once again, emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food benefits have been extended through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and distributed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. More than $334.5 million in emergency benefits are going to about 1.6 million Texas households.
“As we head into the holiday season, we hope these additional allotments provide nourishing meals to Texans in need,” said Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter.
All SNAP households will receive a minimum of $95 in emergency benefits by Nov. 30. Since April 2020, more than $8.7 billion in federal food benefits have been provided to eligible Texans.
Texas again leads nation in jobs added
The latest statistics from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Texas led the nation in jobs added over the past 12 months and broke the state’s record for total jobs for the 11th consecutive month.
The state economy has added 721,8000 positions since September 2021. The state’s unemployment rate was 4.0%
“More people in Texas are working today than ever before. In fact, more people in Texas are working than the entire population of the state of Pennsylvania,” said TWC Commissioner Julian Alvarez. “TWC offers an array of free services to Texans to ensure their success – everything from free online learning courses to occupational training and hiring events. We’re here to help.”
COVID-19 cases again remain steady
The number of new cases of COVID-19 cases reported in Texas by the Coronavirus Center at Johns Hopkins University stayed steady the past week at 11,535, with 62 deaths recorded. The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state recorded by the Texas Department of State Health Services also stayed steady at 974 as of Sunday.