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

A school district in the eastern part of Smith County will get dispatch services through the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.  The Smith County Commissioners Court has approved a contract with Chapel Hill Independent School District for the services.  This is one step in setting up the school district’s police department, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Wilson told the Commissioners Court on Tuesday.  “They’re trying to get their (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) certification up and running, so they need that before, I believe, mid-August,” Wilson said. view article arw

AUSTIN — Children under 17 years old in Texas can’t legally consent to have sex. But they can still be charged with prostitution after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a widely supported bill to prohibit those arrests.  The legislation, while well intentioned, he said, had “unintended consequences” by removing an option law enforcement and prosecutors can use to separate victims from sex traffickers. view article arw

State legislature missed opportunities to improve child well-being; 2020 census is our state's next big test  AUSTIN, Texas — Texas ranks 41st in child well-being — one of the 10 worst states for kids — according to the 2019 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For 30 years, this annual report has highlighted which states have better outcomes for their kids.  This year, the report also focuses on the critical role of the upcoming 2020 census, which will allocate billions of dollars for health care, housing and food programs that Texas kids and families count on. Given that Texas has added nearly 2.5 million kids since these reports began — accounting for more than a quarter of the national increase — the wellbeing of Texas’ nearly 7.4 million children truly does drive the overall wellbeing of US children as a whole. view article arw

Starting this fall, elementary school students in Frisco ISD will have more time to play during school.  The district experimented with "brain breaks" at five schools last year and found kids performed better in class.  Frisco ISD said it surveyed parents, teachers and students at the five schools and found:  72 percent of teachers say students were better able to focus after a transition from free play view article arw

While noting some improvements needed, retired superintendent Don Newsom gave his unique stamp of approval in his report on the safety and security audit he performed in Decatur ISD this spring. “I go home and my wife asks me about Decatur ISD, and I say, ‘I wouldn’t mind if our grandkids went to school there because I know they would be safe,'” Newsom said. “You’re way up on the curve.” view article arw

Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 18, an omnibus bill meant to get more mental health services to students in Texas public schools. Amarillo Republican Representative Four Price and Austin Democratic Senator Kirk Watson shepherded the bill through the legislature. It would require school districts to offer mental health and suicide prevention curricula if they do the same with physical health.  view article arw

A former Coppell ISD middle school teacher accused of inappropriate behavior with a student has been indicted on three charges, according to the Dallas County district attorney's office. view article arw

The Goliad Independent School District is making some changes to their campuses for this upcoming school year. Goliad ISD says the increasing number vaping and bullying instances has led them to take preventative measures. view article arw

LA VERNIA, Texas - Four former La Vernia High School students previously charged with sexual assault in connection with an athletics hazing scandal exposed in 2017 have now been indicted on new charges more than two years later.  Alejandro Ibarra, Colton Weidner, Christian Roberts and Dustin Norman were indicted Friday by a grand jury in Wilson County on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed via phone Tuesday morning. view article arw

The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened — the latest victory for victims’ relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists. The book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” has also been pulled to settle claims against its publisher filed by Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting. view article arw

While Texas children are getting better access to health care and showing improved education outcomes, they still lag behind the majority of the nation’s kids, especially in measures of poverty, according to a new report released Monday. The Annie E. Casey Foundation‘s 2019 Kids Count Data Book, a state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States, ranks Texas 41st in overall child well-being based on measures of health, education, and economic well-being. That’s up from 43rd in 2018. The report showed a slight decline in the number of children living in poverty from 22 percent in 2018 to 21 percent, which remains above the national average of 18 percent. The top-performing state, New Hampshire, has only 10 percent of its children living in poverty. view article arw

A Tyler nonprofit is taking major steps toward curbing suicide and mental health crises among students in East Texas. Recent studies have shown that Smith County has the highest suicide rate of the state’s 25 largest counties. Next Step Community Solutions will launch a new program this fall that will help create a peer support network for students through an evidence-based suicide prevention program. They plan to pilot the program at Robert E. Lee High School and a second, as yet undecided school in East Texas. Sources of Strength relies on peer networks building support and sharing resources, rather than taking a reactionary approach. view article arw

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has approved a spending bill that includes a $1 million public safety campaign for firearm storage. The Republican signed a $250 billion two-year budget Saturday without any line-item vetoes. It includes money for the Texas Department of Public Safety to promote a safe gun storage campaign. view article arw

As measles cases hit a 25-year high in the United States, Texas medical experts fear the state could see the next outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Texas has reported 15 confirmed cases of measles so far in 2019, six more than in all of 2018.  Health officials are watching pockets of Texas closely because of the number of parents requesting exemptions under Texas’s broad vaccine exemption law. Texas is one of 16 states that allow parents to bypass vaccine requirements for enrolling their kids in school by claiming a conscientious exemption, along with citing medical or religious concerns. Just last month, Washington ended conscientious exemptions on the heels of a large measles outbreak with over 70 reported cases. Three states — California, West Virginia and Mississippi — only allow medical exemptions. view article arw