School Safety Law Toolkit

Senate Bill 168

Effective Date: June 14, 2021

Requires the commissioner of education, in consultation with the TxSSC and state fire marshal, to adopt rules providing for best practices for emergency school drills and exercises and include definitions for relevant terms.

Active Threat Exercises

  • Active threat exercises, as required by TEC 37.1411, provides for planning, notification, volunteer participation, and safety as part of an exercise.
  • Prior to conducting an active threat exercise, including active shooter simulation, school districts are required provide adequate notice to students, parents, and staff who are expected to participate in the exercise. Information must also be provided including the date, content, form, and tone of the exercise, and whether any type of live simulation that mimics an actual shooting or threat will be used in the exercise. Prior to the start of an exercise, an announcement must be made to students and staff. The announcement must also include whether any live simulation that mimics an actual shooting or threat will occur during the exercise. Any first responder organizations (e.g., police departments or fire departments) who might respond to a false report or alarm must be notified of the exercise.
  • A safe zone must be created around the exercise area to keep firearms, ammunition, or other weapons out of the area, except those in the hands of peace officers or those authorized to carry those items on school grounds. This safe zone does not prohibit parents or guardians from transporting or storing firearms, ammunition, or other legal weapons in their vehicle while picking up their child from school.
  • The exercise content must be age and developmentally appropriate and developed by a team comprised of school administrators, teachers, school-based mental health professionals and law enforcement and include input from students and parents. The exercise must be designed to ensure that student's well-being is supported before, during, and after the exercise. Data must be collected regarding the efficacy and impact of the exercise and include feedback from students, staff, or their family members. This data must be submitted to the Texas School Safety Center. Allows the commissioner of education to adopt rules as necessary for implementation.
  • This applies to open-enrollment charter schools, as per TEC 12.104(b).