Designated by Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code, the Texas School Safety Center, located at 400 W. Hopkins St., San Marcos, is meant to serve as the state’s central hub for school safety information.

The nonprofit university-level research center—which was created in 1999 after the Columbine High School shooting—aims to provide a variety of training and research technical assistance to all K-12 public and charter schools as well as junior colleges.

The TxSSC offers a plethora of virtual and in-person training as well as self-paced courses, all of which are funded through four governmental entities, including the Texas Legislature, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. Since the programs and training receive outside funding, they are at no cost to Texas teachers or districts.

What they're saying

Director Kathy Martinez-Prather, whose role is to oversee all of the center’s strategic efforts related to legislative mandates around safety and security for Texas, said TxSSC requires training focused on threat assessment.

“We spend a lot of our time and a lot of our work on prevention, mitigation and preparedness,” Martinez-Prather said. “We want to prevent these things from happening in the first place—any sort of act of violence. Really [we’re] trying to get schools to understand how to implement the threat assessment process with fidelity and to look at it as a tool to identify individuals before they get on a pathway to violence and intervene with early intervention,” she said.

The center’s research and evaluation team is a key component to evaluating the effectiveness of each training program through pre- and post-testing and participant feedback.

“We evaluate all of our trainings, all year long,” Martinez-Prather said. “It helps to inform our strategic planning for the following year, but we also do a statewide needs assessment every spring. We ask questions about training needs, topic areas that need to be covered.”

The center implements three-, six- and nine-month follow-ups with participants to gather more data to understand whether there were any takeaways.

Martinez-Prather also noted the center has seen trends with Texas school districts hiring directors of school safety, creating district police departments and increasing school marshals since 2019.

“We’re seeing a lot of physical security measures being put in,” she said. “We’re also seeing a lot of preventative efforts being addressed in school settings when it comes to the threat assessment processes.”

Educators interested in signing up for courses can visit

About the program

The Texas School Safety Center provides over 300 trainings each school year in anywhere from 25-30 different topic areas, including:

• Introduction to School Safety Audits

• Severe Weather Annex

• Active Threat Annex

• School Behavioral Threat Assessment

• Digital Threat Assessment (prerequisite)

• Charter School Safety & Security Requirements

Texas School Safety Center

• 400 W. Hopkins St., San Marcos

• 512-245-8082

• Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.