Around the State
Dallas Examiner | 5/20/2013, 11:14 a.m. | Updated on 5/20/2013, 4:03 p.m.
On May 4, House Bill 1009, the Protection of Texas Children Act, was passed by the Texas House of Representatives. The legislation, authored by Rep. Jason Villalba, District 114, creates a new subset of law enforcement officer called school marshals. Those officers will serve as the last line of defense should an armed attacker threaten the lives of children in public schools. The School Marshal program will be optional – providing for a rigorous standard of training and certification to expand law enforcement into schools – should a school district choose to participate.
“School safety is a concern for every parent and a challenge faced by all school districts,” Villalba said.
“I have a daughter currently attending a public school in Dallas and soon my other daughter will follow in her footsteps. I am comforted knowing that Dallas ISD schools have the resources to employ a police department to protect our schools, but not all districts have that level of resources. This legislation provides school districts with a cost-effective school security option that includes robust training tailored to protect children in schools during an active shooter situation. I am honored that my colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives considered this legislation and agreed that the School Marshal plan is a thoughtful and responsible school security option for Texas school districts.”
Villalba’s office reported that he worked closely with law enforcement and school groups such as the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, the Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of School Boards, and many others to develop a plan that is tailored, reasonable, thoughtful and responsive to a serious challenge facing Texas and the nation.
On May 7, Wesley Baker, a middle school social studies teacher at KIPP Truth Academy, took part in Celebrating African American Teachers in the Classroom, a panel discussion hosted by U.S. Department of Education on Google Hangout. The panel discussed the rewards of the teaching profession, the critical role of good teachers, and the challenges they face in preparing students for college and careers. The panel was comprised of African American educators from across the country. Other panelists were Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement of the Department of Education; David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans; Wesley Baker, a middle school social studies teacher at KIPP Truth Academy in Dallas; Jemal Graham, a seventh grade math teacher at Eagle Academy for Young Men in Queens, N.Y.; and Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, Department of Education at Howard University.
The hangout can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/usedgov.
The Dallas Independent School District has eight of the top 10 high schools in North Texas, according to the 2013 rankings released by Children At-Risk, a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy organization.
In addition, Dallas ISD has the top three high schools rated for performance in math and science, as well as four of the top five urban comprehensive high schools, representing a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The advocacy group compiled its data based on graduation rates, advanced coursework and performance on standardized tests. The rankings cover schools in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Rockwall, Ellis, Kaufman, Hunt and Johnson counties.