El PASO, Texas -- Preparing for the worst, without traumatizing students. That's the goal of a new Texas law, Senate bill 168, sponsored by El Paso state Sen. Cesar Blanco that went into effect this week.
Active shooter drills are not new in Texas, but the law changes how they'll be conducted.
The new law requires schools to make sure parents, teachers, and more importantly students, get notified with time before these drills are set to happen and they must be age appropriate.
It will also impact the number and types of school drills and exercises schools will have to do following collaborations between the state Fire Marshal, the Texas School Safety Center and the Texas Education Agency.
Mental health professionals, law enforcement, school administrators, even teachers, parents, and students will have a say in how these drills will be conducted.
Blanco told ABC-7 that his work on the Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety Committee following the Aug. 3, 2019 shooting at El Paso's Cielo Vista Walmart helped jump start the new law.
After meeting with mass shooting victims across the state, Blanco said this type of measure was "needed."
"We want to make sure that when we're doing these drills, that they're trauma informed," he said "Making sure that these exercises do not include simulations that could be scary and harmful to not only to the students, but also the teachers and parents. So if we're going to do this, we've got to take the right approach, and we brought the professionals to inform this."
El Paso Independent School District Police Chief Manuel Chavira said the districts as well as other schools across the county already conduct their drills in such manner.
"We when we conduct our drills, which is what Senator Blanco's initiative was, is to not be shooting off blanks, or shotguns, or any kind of explosive devices in the hallways, because that tends to lead to post traumatic stress disorder for the children."