Governor Abbott Announces New Chief Of School Safety And Security
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced John P. Scott as the new Chief of School Safety and Security within the Texas Education Agency (TEA), starting today, Monday, October 3.
Following the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Governor Abbott directed TEA to create the position of Chief of School Safety and Security within the agency to serve as a recognized expert on school security and public safety issues and a resource to school districts and the legislature. The Chief will ensure Texas schools are implementing the school safety policies passed by the legislature and take every action possible to ensure schools are using best practices to safeguard against school shootings or other dangers.
“Protecting Texas children and making our schools safer for all are top priorities, and John Scott is uniquely qualified to help lead our efforts ensuring their safety and security in Texas schools,” said Governor Abbott. “Chief Scott’s wealth of experience in security and intelligence and exemplary service to our nation make him the perfect fit as the new Chief of School Safety and Security. I look forward to working with Chief Scott as we continue increasing our strong collaboration and communication among state agencies to provide a safe and secure environment for every Texas student, parent, teacher, and school faculty member.”
“Both as Commissioner of Education, and as a dad, I recognize our schools must be safe for students to learn and grow,” said Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath. “TEA’s new Chief of School Safety and Security, John Scott, brings incredible security expertise to the role. We are grateful for Governor’s Abbott’s leadership on this critical issue.”
“I am honored to join the Texas Education Agency in this capacity,” said Chief of School Safety and Security John Scott. “I plan to work closely with partner agencies and school systems across the state to keep our students and staff safe.”
John P. Scott of Dallas was Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the United States Secret Service Dallas/North Texas District. Previously, Scott has served as Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the North Texas Cyber Fraud Task Force, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the Protective Intelligence & Physical Protection Unit in Dallas, and Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Secret Service Headquarters/Protective Operations Division in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Scott served as Special Agent in the Vice Presidential Protective Division and Dignitary Protective Division in Washington, D.C. and in the Houston Field Office. Before joining the Secret Service, Scott was a U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer and Captain where he completed Airborne and the rigorous Ranger schools. Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Texas Tech University, where he was named a Distinguished Military Graduate.
Chief Scott will report directly to Commissioner Morath and will have a direct line to the Office of the Governor to ensure increased communication and collaboration among state agencies to provide a safe environment for Texas students and school faculty. As the single point of contact to coordinate school safety and security efforts across Texas, Chief Scott will enhance all agency services by increasing communication and collaboration among the professionals at TEA, the Texas School Safety Center, the Department of Public Safety, the Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, and the Advance Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, school districts, and other entities.
Governor Abbott has taken significant action to provide all available resources to support the Uvalde community following the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School. Those actions include:
- Initiating the State of Texas’ comprehensive plan to assist and support members of the community, including co-locating state agency representatives to the Family Assistance Center for on-hand assistance in finding benefits.
- Investing an initial $5 million to establish a long-term Family Resiliency Center in Uvalde County to serve as a hub for community services, including access to critical mental health resources.
- Providing $105.5 million to enhance school safety and mental health services in Uvalde and throughout Texas.
- Providing $1.25 million to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) for trauma-informed counseling, crisis intervention, and community outreach.
- Working with the OneStar Foundation to create a one-stop webpage for donations to support the victims’ families, teachers, and the Uvalde community.
- Directing the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to ensure all children in Uvalde have access to behavioral health resources and community support.
- Providing over $295,000 grant to Uvalde County Juvenile Probation Department for services to help at-risk youth exhibiting emotional or behavioral problems at school.
- Issuing a disaster declaration to accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community.
- Requesting Texas legislative leaders convene special legislative committees to begin examining and developing legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.
- Directing the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) to begin immediately conducting comprehensive school safety reviews to ensure all Texas public schools are following the appropriate procedures to maximize school safety.
- Directing the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide strategies to make Texas public schools safer through heightened safety standards.
- Instructing the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) programs to provide training to all school districts across the state, prioritizing school-based law enforcement.
- Directing TEA, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to expand and accelerate the ability to report suspicious activity through the iWatchTexas reporting system.
- Promoting awareness of iWatchTexas through a public safety announcement featuring “Walker, Texas Ranger” Chuck Norris.
- Directing TEA to create a new Chief of School Safety and Security position within the agency.
- Urging the Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) to increase lie-and-try prosecutions of people who lie on information provided for gun background checks.
- Providing over 30 law enforcement officers to UCISD campuses for the new school year.