PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – Texas lawmakers and East Texas school leaders visited Palestine for a school safety forum on Wednesday. The event was hosted by District 8 State Rep. Cody Harris and Palestine Independent School District Superintendent Jason Marshall. They encouraged a conversation between educators and law enforcement on how to prepare for and prevent a tragedy.

These conversations are very prevalent following the mass shooting in Uvalde. At the forum, different topics were addressed such as, the security children and teachers should feel, identifying characteristics of a school shooter and being aware of surroundings.  

“It’s not standing in front of a microphone or a camera is where the difference is going to be made. It’s going to be in a quiet, private conversation that you guys and the people who you work with have with a teacher or a young person who is struggling. That may be what saves countless lives and changes the direction of that young person’s future,” said State Rep. Greg Bonnen for District 24.

Mike Morath, the Texas Education Agency Commissioner, said an important change could be improving incident response by requiring emergency drills, but those tests should not involve students because students should always feel safe at school. He said, it is the staff’s job to provide that.  

Throughout the assembly security and protection were stressed and officials want to change future strategies.