Gov. Greg Abbott appoints Texas’ first school safety and security chief

"I plan to work closely with partner agencies and school systems across the state to keep our students and staff safe," said the newly appointed John P. Scott.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed John P. Scott, a former U.S. secret service agent, as the first chief of school safety and security for the Texas Education Agency.

Abbott created the position following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead in May.

“The Chief must ensure that Texas schools are implementing the school safety policies passed by the legislature and take every action possible to ensure that schools are using best practices to safeguard against school shootings or other dangers,” he said in a statement in June advising the TEA to create the position.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Scott served as a Secret Service agent in the Vice Presidential Protective Division from 2006 and 2010. He later served in the Secret Service field office in Dallas, Texas.

“I am honored to join the Texas Education Agency in this capacity,” Scott said in a statement. “I plan to work closely with partner agencies and school systems across the state to keep our students and staff safe.”

More from DA: Hackers release confidential data after LAUSD refuses to pay ‘insulting’ ransom

Since the shooting, Uvalde officials have made efforts to empower parents and families. In August, the district offered parents the option to enroll their children in virtual learning this year. The start of the school year was also delayed to allow more time to update security measures and to let parents ask questions and share concerns.

Parents have begged to have the age requirement to buy an assault rifle raised from 18 to 21 years old. Texas Democrats also proposed a special legislative session to raise the age requirement to buy a semi-automatic rifle. But, according to Abbott, doing so would be “unconstitutional” based on a federal ruling. “It is clear that the gun control law that they are seeking in Uvalde—as much as they may want it—has already been ruled as unconstitutional,” he said in a statement.

However, legislation is currently in the process of appealing the ruling. Most recently, three separate parents filed the first lawsuit against the district for the negligence and systematic failures that allowed the gunman to terrorize students for over an hour. The lawsuit alleges that the district refused to take advantage of its financial resources to bolster school security.

“…the Uvalde School District took the money but did little to prophylactically protect the students and teachers,” it reads. Additionally, the school only had enough money in the budget for six police officers in charge of overseeing nine separate schools. Robb Elementary had no assigned officer but merely received regular walkthroughs several times a week.

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

Most Popular