Abbott enlists Chuck Norris in effort to prevent school shootings

Abbott enlists Chuck Norris in effort to prevent school shootings
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

I know, I know. You’re hoping this is about Abbott installing Chuck Norris clones in every public school in Texas to keep bad guys at bay. Honestly, that’s what I was hoping for too, but it sounds like Norris’s role in preventing school shootings is going to be free of any genetic engineering. Instead, he’ll be lending his voice to an effort encouraging parents, students, and teachers to report suspicious activity or cause for alarm using the state’s iWatchTX website.

“Parents, teachers, and students deserve to feel safe and secure returning to school this fall, and who better to help spread the message about the iWatchTexas reporting system than ‘Texas Ranger’Chuck Norris?” Abbott said in a statement to the media on Tuesday.
Norris was the star of the television series Walker Texas Ranger which ran from 1993 to 2001.
In the new PSAs, Norris says he loves bringing bad guys to justice.
“But law enforcement can’t stop the bad guys if they don’t know who they are,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to tell you about iWatch, a website, phone app and service that allows Texans to report suspicious activity.”
The iWatch system has been in place for several years, but Abbott in June called for ramping up awareness of the system after the Uvalde shooting.
While Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is on the campaign trail declaring that the only way to stop a school shooting is by banning AR-15s (or at least restricting their purchase to those over the age of 21), the Secret Service recommends a very different approach. According to a 2021 report that examined targeted attacks on schools between 2006 and 2018, more than 90% of individuals who either carried out an attack or were prevented from doing so had communicated their intentions beforehand; either to family members, students, teachers, or through online communications. The shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde hadn’t happened when the Secret Service’s report was released, but the individual responsible fits that same pattern observed in the report with multiple opportunities where the criminal justice, public education, or mental health system may have been able to intervene if he’d been on anyone’s radar.
I think it’s great that Chuck Norris is lending a hand to help promote the iWatchTX website, but I’d love to see him cut another PSA to promote the state’s School Marshal and school “guardian” plan, which both allow for armed school staff members to carry on campus. According to the Texas Tribune, about 84 of the state’s 1,200 school districts have adopted a School Marshal program, which requires staffers to undergo 80 hours of training. More than 200 districts, on the other hand, have authorized certain individuals (and not just district employees) to serve as “guardians,” allowing them to carry on campuses after 16 hours of training.
About 25% of Texas school districts already have either a “guardian” program or the School Marshal system in place, which means there’s still plenty of room for growth. It might be impossible for every campus to have its own Chuck Norris clone on hand, but thankfully you don’t have to be a Texas Ranger to protect students against a targeted attack in their classroom. You just have to be someone with a willingness to serve as a first line of defense and the free time to undergo the required training, and I suspect there are plenty of educators in the Lone Star State who fit that bill and would be eager to volunteer if and when their districts adopt one of these measures.