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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST awarded $1.5 million for safety trainings

Kobe Arriaga
Texas State students walk between classes, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023 at The Quad.

On Oct. 4, U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced Texas State is receiving a three-year, $1,560,987 grant to provide behavioral threat workshops to Texas school districts.

The Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC), a university program, is receiving the grant. The TXSSC provides training, research and technical assistance to public schools and community colleges throughout the state.

According to Kathy Martinez Prather, director of the TXSCC, behavioral threat assessments aim to train school districts to identify behaviors in students to try to curb violence.

“At the heart of it, [threat assessment] is about getting individuals that are in crisis intervention and support to be successful in the education environment,” Martinez-Prather said. “The best way to have that accomplished is to train staff and students on identifying concerning behaviors.”

According to Martinez-Prather, threat assessments are proactive, meaning TXSCC is not waiting for a threat to become apparent but rather prepare school staff and personnel to know the signs and how to intervene.

Martinez-Prather said TXSSC will first use the grant to fund behavioral threat workshops to over 30 school districts. Since 2019, TXSSC has trained over 41,000 school personnel across the state.

TXSSC will also use the grant to hire a full-time behavioral threat specialist to the center. Normally, behavioral threat workshops are ran by taking a percentage of the time from different staff members of the center but the new staff member can spend all their time on the trainings.

“Last year, we piloted about 36 operationalizing threat assessment workshops,” Martinez-Prather said. “Over the three years of this grant cycle, we’re hoping to deliver 300 of those workshops.”

With the grant funding, Martinez-Prather is hoping the workshops can reach school districts with high needs.

“With those workshops, we’re really focusing in on prioritizing districts with heightened needs across Texas, such as rural districts and districts that come from low socioeconomic status,” Martinez-Prather said.

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