HB 3 passed during the 88th Texas Legislature, requiring school districts in the state to provide one armed security officer on all campuses during regular school hours.
However, the law allows school boards to claim a “good cause” exception and provide an alternative standard if they are unable to meet the requirements due to a lack of funding or personnel. According to the agenda packet, the district’s alternative plan includes:
- At least one commissioned peace officer is assigned to each secondary campus, and at elementary and intermediate campuses as available.
- Officers will be assigned to campuses clustered within a 1- to 2-mile geographic radius of each other to allow for a quick response time.
- CISD Police Department command staff officers will continue to be assigned to each feeder zone to provide additional police presence at campuses in that feeder zone throughout the school day.
- Patrol officers will remain available at all times within the district’s boundaries.
CISD Chief of Police Matthew Blakelock spoke at a board presentation Aug. 1 urging the district to push for more school resource officers as opposed to other alternative plans that included hiring officers from an outside agency, enlisting a school marshal or using guardians authorized to carry a firearm.
“It is important to ensure that we weigh any options carefully to ensure that we are providing the highest quality service to our CISD community,” Blakelock said in a Sept. 21 email statement. “Having highly trained and vetted Conroe ISD police officers on each campus is the best option for us. We are avidly recruiting and have hired several new officers in the past two months with several more applicants in process to start in October and will continue these efforts.”
Blakelock said the district has 78 peace officers and 27 security monitors as of Sept. 21, and the district also has relationships with other law enforcement agencies in Montgomery County to provide additional presence and response to campuses.
In the resolution, it was noted Superintendent Curtis Null and Blakelock will, if necessary, apply for a security services contractor license from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which would allow the district to employ Level 3 commissioned security officers.
HB 3 went into effect Sept. 1.
Editor's note: This story was updated to include a statement from Matthew Blakelock as well as the current number of officers.