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Securing Texas schools: Waco ISD Superintendent speaks on roundtable talks

WACO, TX - Waco ISD superintendent Dr. Marcus Nelson is back in Waco after attending a roundtable discussion with Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

That discussion was part of a three day talk surrounding school safety. Community leaders also heard stories from those directly impacted by gun violence.

"The purpose of the meeting was to do more than just think and pray about it," said Dr. Marcus Nelson, Superintendent for Waco ISD.

Dr. Nelson attended one of three roundtable discussions with the governor and several top lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and other school officials.

"In 2018, we have to do things differently, more aggressive, more serious when it comes to school safety because there's been too many school shootings in our schools."

"Lots of lively debate around the ways to keep schools safe and school design issues and how we identify mental health issues quicker," added Dr. Nelson.

An issue Dr. Nelson says is hard for teachers to identify.

"We're not mental heath experts, we're educators. We don't know how to look at someone and assess what they may or may not do in the future," he said.

He says identifying those signs, should start at home.

"As adults and parents and members of families, uncles, aunts, we have to watch our kids, and if we see something then we need to speak up and say something," added Dr. Nelson.

As far as arming teachers, "That's not something we're pursuing at this time, but at the same time we want to be clear that, we're looking at all of our options," said Dr. Nelson.

One option he wants to explore, making sure school guards aren't outgunned.

"People are coming into our schools with semiautomatics and we have to be able to go force on force combat," he said.

And, aside from weapons... Waco ISD campuses need more counselors.

"We have too many students being served by one counselor so we really need to look at ways we can provide more support," said Dr. Nelson.

Now that the meetings are over, the superintendent is looking towards the future.

"We're working with our local officials, our elected officials to make sure that there's a clear line of communication on any legislation that impacts school safety," he said.

Governor Abbott did make one thing clear during those three days, he said we are going to do more than just talk, we are going to act.

The 86th legislative session in Texas is scheduled for January 8th, 2019.

 


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