Senate Bill 11, which mixes needed school safety provisions with non-physician mental health professionals and intrusive Threat Assessment Teams that ask highly personal and incriminating questions, is headed for the Senate floor, likely this week. Although the bill isn’t currently on the Intent Calendar we see on the internet, the bill could hit the floor as early as tomorrow.
SB11, as you remember, came out of the blue, was filed one day, and then the very next day it was heard in committee. This meant that hardly anybody had time to study the bill.
Thanks to your noise and a few brave testifiers who raised concerns, the bill, which should have moved quickly through the Senate, has been held up since the committee hearing March 5th. We were asked at that time to speak with the committee staff and see if we could get the bill amended to address our concerns. After repeated attempts to visit, or get a return phone call or e-mail from committee staff, we give up.
Here are the main problems with the current version of SB11:
· Puts new mandates on local school districts.
· Puts non-physician mental health professionals in our schools to create “awareness” of mental illness and push agendas. Allows Texas Education Agency to name its own initiatives.
· Mandates school Threat Assessment Teams. Threat Assessment Teams are charged with identifying children at risk, asking touchy-feely questions.
· According to Texas School Safety Center, many of the solutions to children who may become dangerous involve mental health services.
· Mental health services did not stop Devin Patrick Kelley (Sutherland Springs), Kendrex White (UT stabbing), James Holmes (Aurora, Co.), Eric Harris (Columbine).
· Protects the “psychological safety” of kids, but doesn’t define it.
· Threat Assessment Teams address a number of mental health components.
At the end of the day, the perception of potential violence, like the perception of mental illness, is subjective. It’s in the eyes of the beholder. Remember the 7 year-old suspended from his Maryland elementary school for chewing his Pop Tart in the shape of a pistol?
This bill needs lots of noise and lots of pressure.
We urge you to call your Senator and ask him or her to vote NO on SB11! You can find your Senator by going to https://fyi.capitol.texas.gov/.
Again – this is a good time to make noise!