Following tireless advocacy from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, school districts all across Texas are taking action on gun safety and sending home Be SMART information about the importance of secure firearm storage. Most recently, thanks to organizing by volunteers in Collin County, McKinney Independent School District (ISD), one of Texas’ fastest growing districts, added Be SMART guidance to their September newsletter, highlighting the role of secure storage in keeping children and teens safe in and out of school. The newsletter was sent home to parents and caretakers across the district, covering more than 24,500 students. This is just the latest in a string of recent Be SMART wins in Texas.
Here’s how school districts across the state are stepping up on secure storage:
- A few weeks ago, Frisco ISD passed a resolution to require district schools to send home information on secure firearm storage and require parents and caretakers to sign a document of acknowledgement.
- At the beginning of September, Dallas ISD updated their student handbook to include Be SMART information.
- Also in September, Katy ISD sent Be SMART info out via their Corkboard flyer to all 74 campuses in the district and included the same info in their Weekly Digest email.
- Over the summer, Pearland ISD uploaded Be SMART info to their Safe and Secure Schools webpage.
- And starting in the 2020 school year, Houston ISD began sending out a Safe Gun Storage Acknowledgement Form to parents that continues to be part of their practice at the beginning of every school year.
These local measures will go far in helping protect Texas children in and out of the classroom, and they come at a critical moment. During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 193 incidents of gunfire on school grounds — nearly four times the average during these months in all other years and the highest number of incidents since Everytown began tracking these trends in 2013. This devastating trend is playing out in Texas, too — Texas leads the nation in the number of school shootings since 2012, and guns are the leading cause of death among the state’s youth population.
Research shows that secure firearm storage is one of the most effective tools to keep children and teens safe from gun violence and keeping guns out of schools. In addition to helping prevent gun violence on school grounds, research shows that secure firearm storage also plays a vital role in reducing unintentional shootings and gun suicide among children and teens. By keeping firearms securely stored, gun owners can help mitigate the risk of gun violence in and out of schools.
The Be SMART program helps parents and other adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries, youth suicide, and gunfire on school grounds.
The program encourages parents and adults to:
- Secure all guns in their home and vehicles
- Model responsible behavior around guns
- Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
- Recognize the role of guns in suicide
- Tell your peers to be SMART
For more information on the Be SMART program and how to securely store your firearms, visit https://besmartforkids.org/. To request materials or local presentations, use the “Connect with Be SMART” contact form.