School districts in the Houston area closely monitored the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday. Some of them have stepped up security.
KPRC Local 2 asked school districts in the area about their visitor policies. Here are the statements they released:
The following statement is being issued in response to requests for HISD comment regarding today’s mass shooting at a Connecticut school. No further statements on the incident will be issued today.
"The Houston Independent School District joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. Crisis management procedures, which include campus lockdown protocols, are in place at every HISD campus. The approximately 200 officers in the HISD Police Department receive regular crisis response training as well. The safety of students and staff is HISD’s top priority."
Aldine ISD requires visitors to present a Texas Driver License or Texas ID, which is scanned for child-related criminal offenses. The district implements lock-down procedures at the request of law enforcement or when campuses or surrounding communities are on security alert.
All visitors must present a state-issued license or ID which is run through Raptor, a national criminal data base. Most Houston area school district have the same policy.
Alvin ISD is aware and we are deeply saddened by the situation in Connecticut. Our District administrators and Campus Police Department have been notified and asked to increase their level of vigilance. Our district utilizes the Raptor System that runs a background check on all non-employees that visit one of our district campuses. Additionally, all volunteers that serve on a campus are run through a background check in our Human Resources Department. The volunteers are then added to a district wide database that shows they have been approved through the HR Department.
Barbers Hill ISD
Prominent notices shall be posted at each campus requiring all visitors to first report to the campus administrative office. This shall apply to parents, Board members, volunteers, social service workers, invited speakers, maintenance and repair persons not employed by the District, vendors, representatives of the news media, former students, and any other visitors. Visits to individual classrooms during instructional time shall be permitted only with the principal's and teacher's approval, and such visits shall not be permitted if their duration or frequency interferes with the delivery of instruction or disrupts the normal school environment.
REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS ON DISTRICT PREMISES
The Superintendent, working with campus administrators, shall develop and implement procedures regarding campus visitors who are identified as sex offenders. These procedures shall address:
1. Parental rights;
2. Escort by District personnel;
3. Access to common areas of the campus;
4. Access to classrooms;
5. Drop off and release of students;
6. Eligibility to serve as volunteers; and
7. Any other relevant issues.
Channelview ISD's contract deputies with Harris County Precinct 3 Constable's Office are keeping a heightened sense of awareness around the district's campuses. Per district policy, visitors must check-in at the school's main office and have their driver's license scanned into a database, which is connected to Texas DPS. If the visitor is allowed on campus, their driver's license is held at the main office until they check out to leave.
We have been monitoring the details from this tragic incident as they became available this morning. We have been sharing the information with the Police Department Command Staff and Police Officers to provide an increased awareness and visibility around all of our campuses.
Deer Park ISD
Our hearts go out to the victims of today's tragic shooting in Connecticut. We are not on alert, but we are certainly aware of what has happened. School safety is always our highest priority, and we have a number of security measures in place.
All visitors to our schools and other buildings must check in at the main office to receive a visitor badge before accessing the building. Visitors are checked into our database, which cross-references the visitor's ID with the state child criminal list. All adults in our buildings must wear an ID badge [either an employee badge or a visitor badge]. Our employees are trained to report any unauthorized visitors [people without a badge].
Fort Bend ISD
This important message is being sent to you on behalf of Fort Bend ISD Police Chief David Rider.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families in Newtown, Connecticut, after the tragic shootings at the elementary school this morning.
The District is closely monitoring the reports of the tragedy as it unfolds. Today, Fort Bend ISD Police have been checking with all of our elementary campuses to support them. The District constantly reviews emergency procedures with all campuses to ensure that school officials follow these procedures. As part of the District's crisis plan, these procedures are reviewed and evaluated on an ongoing basis and training is provided to staff members. We also practice drills with students to let them know what to do to in the event of an emergency.
Unfortunately, this tragedy is a reminder to our staff and parents to be aware of all surroundings and report any unusual situation and/or suspicious person to the proper authorities.
The safety of our Fort Bend ISD students and staff is our highest priority.
District police at elementary schools are on high alert as a precautionary measure.
Today our nation witnessed one of the most horrific events that one can imagine as a gunman took the lives of approximately 20 elementary school children and several staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Our hearts go out to the families of the students and staff members who were impacted by today’s tragedy, as well as the entire Newtown community.
Even though this took place hundreds of miles away from Katy, its impact reaches across the nation and gives us reason to pause and think about our own schools and the safety and well-being of our own children, as no community is immune to random acts of violence.
At this hour, there is still a lot of information to learn with regard to the Connecticut shooter, his relationship to the school, how he gained access to the building, and the security measures that were in place. I want, however, to take this opportunity to reassure you that here in Katy ISD we take proactive measures to not only be prepared to respond to such incidents, but to prevent – to the extent that we can – them from occurring in the first place.
As an immediate response, Katy ISD police officers will have an increased presence in and around our campuses next week. In addition, our counselors have been put on standby to be prepared to meet with students who may have emotional concerns as a result of today’s tragedy.
In addition to the above, the district has other measures in place to help keep students and staff safe. For instance, in recent years we have upgraded many of our facilities with entry vestibules to help control access to our campuses and have established procedures for all campus visitors. We also provide training to our campus staff to reinforce proper procedures with regard to keeping doors locked, questioning suspicious individuals and proper response procedures should an intruder make their way on campus.
Katy ISD also has plans and procedures in place to address emergency situations that a campus or the district may face. The district’s School Safety Task Force, which includes representatives from each campus, as well as from local EMS, fire, and law enforcement, reviews these plans annually. In addition, an emergency response guide is located in every classroom and is accessible from the desktop of every staff computer in the district.
Finally, I would also like to stress the important role we all have in keeping our students and schools safe. Research shows that in cases involving school violence, someone knew something about the threat but never alerted anyone. Please take this time to talk to your children about the important role we all have in keeping our schools safe by reporting potential threats to the proper authorities.
The safety and security of students and staff members on our campuses is of the highest priority and by working together to create healthy and positive relationships with teachers and the school, we can ensure that we provide safe teaching and learning environments.
The Klein ISD extends heartfelt condolences to the Sandy Hook Elementary School community in Newton, Conn., during this tragedy. This is a stark reminder of the importance of the safety procedures already in place in the Klein ISD. There is district protocol for these types of crisis management situations, including lockdown procedures, for every campus. Alongside the 37 Klein ISD police officers, the administrators, teachers, and staff are trained regularly on safety procedures. Rest assured that the safekeeping of students and staff in the Klein ISD is always a top priority.
New Caney ISD
The shooting this morning is a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in and screening processes for all visitors to campuses. While this seems to be an isolated incident, we have asked that our principals be sensitive to concerns or questions that parents may have regarding our own procedures. We remain vigilant in our processes and procedures to protect our students.
Check the school district's policies regarding visitors on campus.
In Pasadena ISD, we have notified our principals of the shooting so that they are aware of the tragedy. We do have policy requiring visitors to report to the front office of each campus. When they come, we process their ID through a Visitor Tracking System (Raptor). Then they wear a "visitor badge" while on campus. The entire policy is available at: http://pol.tasb.org/Policy/Download/597?filename=GKC(LOCAL).pdf
Pearland ISD administrators are aware of the tragic situation this morning at an elementary school in Connecticut and express our deepest sympathy.
District personnel work closely with Pearland Police Department and emergency management officials to keep abreast of issues that could impact the safety of our students and
We frequently review our crisis management procedures and students and staff regularly perform safety and lock-down drills to prepare for emergencies.
Our objective is to prepare students for any situation while also protecting them from messages or images that would alarm them. We strive to balance the need to be informed with the maturity levels of our students. The safety and security of our student and staff is always our top priority.
Regarding Pearland ISD's policy/procedures to visitors on campus:
· Pearland ISD has a very strong presence of police officers throughout the district available to get to any problem quickly, if they are not already on the campus.
· All visitors to a campus must sign in with the receptionist/front office and provide a photo ID.
· For campus security, the district uses an electronic database to store information concerning visitors to district campuses.
· Pearland ISD facilities have video camera coverage at the main entrances.
· Doors at our facilities, except for the main entrance, are locked. Visitors must enter through main entrance.
The district always places a priority on ensuring the safety of students and employees. Standard procedures are implemented and tested on a regular and ongoing basis to reduce the likelihood of an event happening like the tragic shooting in Connecticut. The district requires visitors to schools to submit identification which is processed using an online visitor screening and management system (Raptor).
Texas City ISD
"We are always on alert to have a safe campus. I've provided policy, procedures from the handbook and information from our Emergency Operations Manual on how we drill and how we would respond to a crisis situation similar to what happened today. Please be cautious on what you share as to not threaten the safety of our plans.
Every campus has a secured entry. That was accomplished with the 2007 Bond projects. Visitors are forced to check into the office first and receive a visitor pass and be scanned through our Raptor system They have to have a specific purpose to be on campus.
We will have additional officers patrolling the perimeters of all of our schools this afternoon and each day next week.
Our teachers and staff receive annual training. Those pages are attached. All campus staff received training in August from our Galveston County Sheriff's Liaison Officers called When Seconds Count, a reenactment of a school shooting.
The safety of Waller ISD students and staff is always a top priority. Our Administration Team and our School Resource Officers are aware of the tragedy. We are deeply saddened
by this tragedy. Our deepest condolences go to family and loved ones during this time of grief.
Parents and other adult visitors are welcome to visit District schools provided they show a state issued ID. All visitors must report to the receptionist and sign in to get a visitor's badge. The visitor's badge must be worn while visiting and returned when the visit is over. Visits to individual classrooms during instructional time shall be permitted only with the principal's approval. Such visits shall not be permitted if their duration or frequency interferes with the delivery of instruction or disrupts the normal school environment. Classroom visits should be arranged at least 24 hours in advance. Driver's license/identification will be kept in the front office until the visitor checks out. Student visitors are not allowed
Note: No visitors are allowed campus visits on state assessment testing days.
When visitors, volunteers, or contractors check in to a campus - or when parents come to pick up students during the day - they will be asked to present a valid state-issued ID for entering into the V-Soft system. The V-Soft system is a computerized visitor tracking system that screens visitors using public sex offender database information as well as any additional alert data entered by the school in regard to custody issues, restraining orders, and WISD prohibited persons.