Texas considers how to prevent school shootings

School freshman Caitlyn Girouard center hugs her friend outside the Alamo Gym where students and parents wait to reunite following a shooting at Santa Fe High School

National Football League star JJ Watt on Monday brought some joy to the Santa Fe high school shooting survivors at a Texas hospital.

"Some people are saying you can't prevent guns with guns", Ybarra said. The governor's office said he would hold roundtable discussions from Tuesday to focus on the best options.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people attended a service held by Houston's Muslim community for Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-old exchange student from Pakistan, who had talked about one day becoming a diplomat.

"There's not just the one thing you can do that will stop this and be a cure-all", Bessent said.

One of the 13 people injured, a police officer who confronted suspected gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis, remained hospitalized in critical condition. He also spoke of a vague idea of mandating parent training to prevent shootings and spoke at length about creating an app that would allow students, parents and law enforcement to monitor school security cameras.

"Texas Republicans look at this tragedy and they do not see the gun as the problem", said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said Monday police were able to "engage" the shooter four minutes after they were called.

Steve Gonzales  Houston Chronicle via AP
Steve Gonzales Houston Chronicle via AP

The Houston mayor, Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, called on state lawmakers to enact gun-control laws and finance the installation of metal detectors in public schools. He acknowledged that such airport-style screening would carry a high cost for the thousands of school districts in the state.

Abbott, a Republican, focused the first of three "roundtable sessions" on school safety.

"They're going to be some of the simplest but most effective strategies that can be employed to make sure that our schools are safer places when our kids walk into those schools next August", Abbott told the press after the meeting.

"We did more today than talk", the governor said. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Many teenage survivors of the attack spoke out publicly on the need for stricter gun control, making household names of activists including David Hogg and Emma González and inspiring nationwide protests. Abbott has given no indication that he would do so.

A recent CNN story reported that 170 Texas school districts (out of about 1,000) already allow teachers and administrators to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. A fellow football player said he'd been joking around with the suspect just the day before on a field trip, while another classmate described him as "really odd and quiet" and says she wasn't surprised that he was the one who allegedly carried out the attack. He said after the shooting that he wanted to use it across the state.

At the first meeting on Tuesday, participants proposed expanding school safety training programs, bolstering threat assessment systems and expanding a pilot program created to screen for students, who might be a threat to themselves or others.

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