Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, opponent Mike Collier battle over school safety

When it comes to how to make Texas’ schools safer, Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and his Democratic opponent Mike Collier have very different views.

After the state was stunned by the Santa Fe school shooting, Republican leaders in the state called to bolster security at public schools across the state. Just last week Patrick backed this commitment by offering metal detectors to Santa Fe ISD and any other school district that wants them – at the state’s expense.

Patrick explained his stance in an interview with FOX4’s sister station KRIV in Houston.

“Some schools will want metal detectors, some schools will not,” Patrick told KRIV.  “Some schools will want wands. Some schools will want armed teachers and armed personnel, some schools will not. So we want you to decide at the district level what you want.”

But Collier, the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor says that the issue doesn’t lie with the buildings themselves, but rather the students within them.

“We need more counselors, more trained psychologists, more humans to interact with students so you can act quickly,” Collier said. “That costs money right? So we should have appropriated those funds and started the hiring process now.”

Governor Greg Abbott hosted roundtable discussions on school safety. Some of the recommendations that came from the roundtable included threat assessment teams and mental health evaluations starting as early as elementary school.

But Collier says the state’s leadership didn’t put its money where its mouth is. He wants the governor to host a special session to find ways to keep the state’s schools safe.

“Hand the governor the legislation at the end of June so he can sign it,” Collier said. “That gives us eight weeks to hire the people and to implement it so our children come back to safe schools. They did not do that.”

Patrick says that even though there was no special session, the state is still committing millions to school safety in the form of metal detectors and wands. It’s even paying for the training of more school marshals.

“There is an answer to having better security in every school,” Patrick told KRIV. “It’s just up to the school district, parents and school board to decide what that is for their district.”

In the short term that means wands and metal detectors. But Patrick says that the state will provide future funding to retrofit doors with emergency push bar exits so students who are locked in a hallway can find their way out.