Children attending school with an exemption for one or more vaccines are not ticking time bombs of biological warfare and th....e stuff of nightmares for the immuno-compromised and elderly among us. It is time we moved beyond this rhetoric to address consequences of mandating a medical procedure with known risks. Those who advocate for removing the rights of Texas families to opt out of vaccines rely heavily on three things: the supposed threat that exemptions pose to herd immunity, public fear driven by relentless media focus on illness and exemption rates, and steadfast denial of any risks associated with vaccination. view article arw

Starting August 1st, Texas students are expected to be medically cleared before they can perform with the marching band. The University Interscholastic League’s new rule applies to marching band students entering their first and third years of high school as well as any seventh or eighth-grade middle school student participating in the marching band. view article arw

A new University Interscholastic League rule requires physical exams or medical histories for students in school marching bands across Texas. KXAN-TV in Austin reports doctors want to make sure marching band students are healthy enough to participate, especially during excessive heat. view article arw

Alan Bragg, former chief of the Cy-Fair ISD Police Department, said Texas law enforcement agencies and PBK Architects were preparing plans to enhance school safety just days before the school shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018. “Channel 2 came in and did a story about what we were getting ready to move forward on,” Bragg said. “It aired on Thursday night. The next morning when I got up ... Santa Fe High School was in lockdown and had already lost some students.” view article arw

April 23 began like any other school day for a Weiss High School ninth grader outside of being a little late for class. "I went to my fourth period, I got to the door and the bell rung and he was like go get a tardy pass and like closed the door in my face," she said. view article arw

Starting in August, high school physicals will no longer just apply to students who know how to throw a football or dunk a basketball.  You'll need one if you play the flute, too.  The University Interscholastic League recently put a new rule in place mandating that high school and middle school students be medically cleared by doctors before they can participate in marching band activities.  Anyone entering the first and third years of high school is required to see a doctor, along with any seventh- or eighth-grade students who march in a band. view article arw

The 2018 Italy High School shooter agreed to the terms of a plea arrangement in exchange for his guilty plea Monday morning, June 24. Chad Padilla, 18, was sentenced to a total of 80 years in a state prison shortly after he pleaded guilty to attempted capital murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the 443rd District Court of Ellis County. The shooting victim, Noelle Jones, 17, spoke to the media following the plea and said, “I can’t stop smiling.” view article arw

The number of students opting out of getting vaccinated in Texas is at an all-time high. In San Antonio and surrounding area school districts, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported that 531 kindergarten students out of 29,126 students are not vaccinated, which is 1.8% of students view article arw

Judges in Kentucky have handed down another legal defeat to the unvaccinated teenager who sued his local health department for banning him from school and extracurricular activities amid a chickenpox outbreak earlier this year. The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday quietly sided with the health department, saying that it was acting well within its powers to protect public health. The appeals court quoted an earlier ruling by the US Supreme Court saying that “Of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.” view article arw

In the immediate aftermath of the May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, a man who said he witnessed the carnage seemed to turn up everywhere. The man calling himself David Briscoe appeared in Time as a substitute teacher seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time; CNN described his heroism as he ordered his students to “get down” and kept them protected until police came; The Wall Street Journal relayed the blood-curdling screams he heard from students in the hallway. view article arw

In the immediate aftermath of the May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, a man who said he witnessed the carnage seemed to turn up everywhere. The man calling himself David Briscoe appeared in Time as a substitute teacher seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time; CNN described his heroism as he ordered his students to “get down” and kept them protected until police came; The Wall Street Journal relayed the blood-curdling screams he heard from students in the hallway. view article arw

The parents of a Greenville student filed a lawsuit against Greenville Independent School District in a Dallas federal court on Thursday alleging that the district "failed to protect their child from repeated sexual abuse by another student" even after school officials knew of the abuse and promised to protect the child. The 13-page complaint was filed in U.S. District Court, in the Dallas division of Northern District of Texas. Court records show that a summons was issued that same day to notify the district of the lawsuit, but as of Monday afternoon, court records did not confirm that the summons had yet been delivered. view article arw


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After the May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, a man who said he witnessed the carnage there as a substitute teacher seemed to turn up in news reports everywhere. And in April, nearly a year after the shooting, he told a similar story to the Tribune’s Alex Samuels. But after investigating some of his claims … view article arw

After the school shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe, the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center joined its partners to develop a threat assessment model that campuses can use to enhance school safety.  Mesquite ISD, a district of around 42,000 students, has held at least five trainings over the behavioral threat assessment tool. Executive Director of Administrative Services Shelley Garrett said all of Mesquite ISD’s campus personnel, counselors, school resource officers and administrators took half a day to go over why the behavioral threat assessment was formed, what it aims to accomplish and what is contained in the assessment.  view article arw

Two additional deputies have been fired as a result of an internal affairs investigation into the response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people, the Broward County sheriff said Wednesday. At a brief news conference, Sheriff Gregory Tony said deputies Edward Eason and Josh Stambaugh were fired Tuesday for their inaction following the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting. "In essence, it was neglect of duty. We lost 17 people," Tony said. view article arw

In January, the principal of Pflugerville High School sent a letter to parents and staff confirming that one of the school’s students had contracted pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. Three months later, a second case of whooping cough was confirmed at the school by district officials. The highly contagious respiratory disease is on the rise nationwide, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. While the principal’s letter did not specify whether the sick student was vaccinated against whooping cough, it emphasized the importance of administering immunizations to students. view article arw

For more than 20 years, school districts here have emphasized abstinence above all else in sex education. But soon, members of the Texas Board of Education will consider whether to add new topics like “sexual risk reduction methods,” “healthy relationships,” and “anatomy” in grades as early as kindergarten. The recommendations are part of Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s Essential Knowledge and Skills review for health education, which included input from health experts. “It is about time that Texas come into the 21st century,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which has long pushed for changes to the curriculum. view article arw

Scabies can be controlled with a pill or two, and the protective effect lasts for years, scientists reported on Wednesday. At present, the standard remedy is a skin cream with an insecticide that does not provide long-term protection. In poor countries, pills can be distributed throughout a village, ridding whole communities of the parasite. view article arw

Lubbock ISD showed KCBD their 12 brand new buses on Wednesday. The new buses have additional security features like seat belts, a camera to monitor the driving, air conditioning and GPS. Laura Cortez Is The General Manager Of Transportation For Durham School Services. She explained, “We use a program called zonar. That helps us you know, if a parent were to call in and want to know where the bus is or how much longer it's going to be, we can give them the exact location of where their buses at.” view article arw

School districts are increasingly turning to technology for an added layer of protection on their campuses. “I don’t know if you can ever say you did enough, you know, especially when you’re talking about student safety,” James McDonald with Boyd ISD said. “It’s a constantly evolving program.” McDonald says when his district, which has just more than 1,300 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, updated their school safety measures, several components came to mind. Their buildings have cameras, educators are trained in mental health first aid and they also have a school resource officer. Investing in Share911, he says, was to implement safety communications.  view article arw

Janet Paleo says she had a suicide plan before she was five years old. "Most people think children don't have those thoughts," she said. "They do. They don't say suicide. They say things like, ‘My mom told me if I play out in the street, I'd get hit by a car.'" Now the director of recovery-based services at the Texas Council for Community Centers, she stresses the importance of mental health first aid training. It is a national program. The eight-hour course teaches people how to identify, understand and recognize mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  view article arw

The teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school will go to trial in a city about 45 miles from where the attack happened. A judge in Galveston County has moved the capital murder trial of Santa Fe High School shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis to Richmond, in Fort Bend County. Pagourtzis, who attended Santa Fe High, is also charged with aggravated assault. Thirteen people were wounded in the May 2018 attack. view article arw

A teenager who opened fire at an Ellis County high school in January 2018 and wounded a classmate was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison. Chad Anthony Padilla, 18, pleaded guilty last week to one charge of attempted capital murder and two charges of aggravated assault in connection with the shooting at Italy High School, Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson said.  view article arw

The Sherman Independent School District is preparing to begin implementing portions of a new mental health awareness program. The Texoma Health Foundation offered a grant to make a mental health and suicide awareness program available to Grayson County school districts through the Grant Halliburton Foundation. Denison ISD had previously accepted the grant to begin offering one of the programs at its schools next year and Sherman ISD is taking steps to implement the full Thrive program— which is the in-depth program containing several layers—in the coming school years. view article arw

Almost 300 migrant children have been removed from a border patrol facility in Texas after media reports of lawyers describing “appalling” and potentially dangerous conditions, Department of Homeland Security officials told NBC News.  Lawyers who recently visited two Texas facilities holding migrant children described seeing young children and teenagers not being able to shower for days or even weeks, inadequate food, flu outbreaks and prolonged periods of detention. view article arw

The Second Annual Texas School Safety Conference will be held in Corpus Christi on Monday.  The conference taking place at the Omni Hotel offers a unique platform for educators, administrators and school-based law enforcement to collaborate and work together.  Their goal is to create a safe learning environment. view article arw

When students pose a threat to themselves or others, educators sometimes need to restrain them or remove them to a separate space. That's supposed to be a last resort, and it's a controversial practice. As we've reported recently, school districts don't always follow state laws or federal reporting requirements. Though there are guidelines around restraint and seclusion in schools, there are no federal laws governing how they can be used. And they're most often used on students with disabilities or special needs, and boys, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. view article arw

Dual-language classrooms follow a model similar to this; students spend half of their day with a teacher who speaks to them (and enforces that they speak) only in English, and the other half is spent with a second teacher who does the same, but in Spanish. Educational material is split between the classrooms, and students get the best of both worlds.   María sits in the corner, enunciating “M-m-m-o-o-n-d-a-i,” failing fabulously in pronouncing “Monday.” María spoke only Spanish as she entered kindergarten, but she is making progress. In a typical classroom, María would be the other, an exception among students who can already speak some English. view article arw

In May 2018, ten students walked into Santa Fe High School for the last time on the day a shooter opened fire at their school near Houston. More than a dozen others were injured in the shooting, and the event shook Texans to their core as they wondered how to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.  June 6, more than a year after the Santa Fe shootings, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a series of bills that would help make Texas schools safer while providing more mental health support for students. view article arw

TROUP – The local school board has taken the next step in ensuring that campuses are more safe and more secure, by voting Tuesday to approve various aspects of a security renovation project throughout Troup ISD.  Trustees set a Guaranteed Maximum Price of $807,274 for the proposed project, which Principal Tammy Jones said the district hopes “to launch within the next two weeks and take place over summer break.”  “Our goal is to be finished before school starts, but we have a back-up plan in place if we are not completely done with renovations at that time,” she added. “What it's doing is creating what I would call a 'safety vestibule' in the front entryway of each building, that creates a secure entry (into the buildings). A secretary would greet visitors, then once they're cleared, buzz the doors (to allow them further access into the building).” view article arw

The number of students opting out of the state’s mandatory vaccination requirements has been on the rise in recent years in Plano ISD and other school districts across the state. During the 2018-19 school year, nearly 2.2% of PISD students received exemptions for reasons of conscience from the state’s vaccine requirements, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. view article arw

A local middle school is banning backpacks starting next school year. Students will instead be required to have drawstring book bags.  Part of the change at Grant Middle School is safety and school security. But it’s also because the school will offer new technology like Chromebooks, so most class work and assignments will be done online.  “So that’s what we’re leaning more toward, technology-based. That’s where we’re going,” said Carla Rosa-Villarreal, the school’s principal.   As the school becomes more technology-driven, all of the heavy textbooks will remain in the classroom.  Now, students like Meranda Flores no longer have to carry big, bulky textbooks around. view article arw

Reminder  For the 2019-2020 year, parents/guardians will be responsible for their student-athletes physicals.  The school will NOT cover examination fees as in previous years.  A physical examination is required at the beginning of 7th grade, 9th grade and 11th grade school year or anyone that did not get a physical last year.  view article arw

Although an Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation targeting families with deportation orders has been postponed for two weeks, anxiety remains among the undocumented community of Houston. view article arw

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Lake Travis High School senior who researched a new way to kill zebra mussels in local lakes is presenting his research this week at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix.  Jack Delli-Santi won both regional and state science fairs to reach the international competition with a project he started more than a year ago when he started scuba diving in Lake Travis. view article arw