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Area school districts beef up security in wake of Santa Fe High School massacre

Several area school districts are beefing up security Monday after a shooting at Santa Fe High School left 10 people dead.

The following districts alerted parents that there would be deputies or police patrolling campuses: 

  • Texas City ISD
  • Clear Creek ISD
  • Katy ISD
  • Cy-Fair ISD
  • Bay City ISD
  • Galveston ISD is asking parents to have their children leave backpacks, purses and gym bags at home if they don't absolutely need them. The district might search bags at its schools. 
  • In Cleveland ISD, students are encouraged to refrain from using their backpacks for the remainder of the school year.
  • In Cy-Fair ISD, teachers are instructed to strictly enforce the dress code. The district said no trench coats or other heavy clothing that could be used to conceal weapons will be allowed on campuses. 

Many of the districts directed parents to helpful resources and talking points to help them discuss the tragedy with their children.

Here are the messages each district sent to parents and guardians on Monday:

Clear Creek ISD 

Dear Parents and Staff,

We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Santa Fe High School today. We are heartbroken over the loss of life at a school just south on Highway 45. This simply hit too close to home for all of us. I want to reassure our students, parents and staff that your school district is committed to ensuring Clear Creek ISD schools are safe for children.
We will be increasing police visibility at each school through the remainder of the school year. These steps are not in response to a threat but rather a means of reassurance to our families and children. Counselors are available to help children who may be having a difficult time processing today’s events in Santa Fe.  
In closing, talking with children about the school shooting can be difficult for even the most-trained adult, which is why the school district is offering the attached resources for parents and staff from the National Association of School Psychologists: "Talking to Children About Violence"

Katy ISD

Dear Katy ISD Parents, staff and community,

Today, all of us at Katy ISD are saddened at the senseless loss of lives after the tragic events at Santa Fe High School. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Santa Fe community. As a parent and Katy ISD superintendent, I want to reiterate to our Katy ISD community that we stand in solidarity with the community of Santa Fe ISD. We also take this opportunity to reiterate to our parents and community that Katy ISD has a robust emergency protocol. Regularly, the Katy ISD Police Department, along with officials from every campus address emergency situations and conduct the appropriate emergency preparedness drills. While classes and activities will proceed regularly, there will be an increased presence of Katy ISD police officers at our schools. What occurred in Santa Fe is a reminder to parents and teachers of the crucial importance of maintaining an open line of communication with students. We know that the number one deterrent to any threat is an open dialogue between parents, students and staff as they have first-hand knowledge when it comes to keeping our schools safe. Also, we understand that the students may want to talk. Please know that personnel at our campuses will be available to speak to students who may need to be supported in the wake of the recent events. Additional information concerning our district-wide safety and security resources can be found here.

Thank you for your support, Lance Hindt, Ed.D

Galveston ISD

Dear Parents and Staff,

In our effort to keep an open line of communication following Friday’s tragic events in Santa Fe ISD and understandable concerns from our parents, staff and community, I am writing to remind you of safety measures already in place. ALL GISD campuses have been trained how to react and handle emergency situations. We schedule trainings throughout the year. We do inform, practice and have drills. Additionally, I have directed our staff to review campus emergency operations plans and ensure each employee understands his or her role in the event of a school emergency. Staff members undergo regular training throughout the school year; however, I have asked each campus Principal to hold staff meetings this week to answer any questions or concerns.

Security procedures 

Security personnel are present at all secondary campuses throughout the year during school hours. GISD has full-time monitors patrol the exterior of the school building to make sure all doors are locked and report any suspicious activity. This extra set of eyes at the secondary campuses has been a welcome addition to our security protocols. There is a rotation for elementary campuses and a Principal can request additional presence through our GISD Police Department. 
GISD Chief of Police Amador has increased police and security presence during special events at all campuses for the remainder of the school year. For extra security measures, we have reached out to the City of Galveston Police Department and other local municipalities to ask for their assistance to provide an extra layer of police presence at our schools until the end of the school year. We are grateful for their willingness to increase patrols and presence at our schools. I am thankful for their partnership and support.
Also, please note that security is not limited to monitoring students. Parents must follow our procedures regarding IDs, pick up processes and supply campuses with any updates or changes to contact information and custody decisions.

Bags and backpacks

If your child does not have to bring a backpack, gym bag, or purse to school, please keep these items at home. If they do need to bring a bag to school, check the bag for prohibited items. Effective Monday, bags may be subject to search under heightened security measures. Some of our campuses already require see-through/mesh bags.

Social media monitoring

As adults, we know children gravitate to social media as a means of communication and collaboration with their peers. Also, we know this is a place where threats, credible or not, are created and shared quickly. Please monitor your child’s social media account(s) and remind them of the tenets of positive digital citizenship and relationships. In the event they see a post that is suspicious or threatening, tell them not to share it but rather report it immediately to you or a trusted adult.
All threats will be investigated by law enforcement and criminal charges will be pursued when appropriate. Making a terroristic threat involving a school is a felony offense, as is possessing certain unlawful weapons, including firearms, on school premises.

See something, say something

Whether it is a post on social media or suspicious behavior, please say something. Here are ways to report anonymous tips.

Call Galveston ISD Police Department directly at 409-766-5824 or submit a report on the GISD website at www.gisd.org/tipline 

Additional support

If you or anyone you know are looking for mental health resources or guidance after the recent Santa Fe High School shooting, text SUPPORT to the short phone number 37420 for coping skills and local resources. You will receive 10 messages and the option to continuing receiving messages at a later date. All messages were vetted by UTMB psychologists.

I realize we are living in uncertain times, and children are looking to you and me for solace and assurances. We must remain vigilant in our shared commitment that our schools are the hubs of the community and safe places where children attend to learn and grow. We can do this, together.

Thank you for your continued support of the Galveston Independent School District and please keep Santa Fe ISD in your thoughts and prayers.

Dr. Kelli Moulton
Superintendent of Schools
Galveston Independent School District

Cyfair ISD 

This is the time of year when I typically prepare an end-of-year message reflecting on the successes of the school year and the exciting future ahead. I had this message queued up for Friday, but could not bring myself to push send. In light of the horrific news out of Santa Fe ISD, the tone felt insensitive. 

There will be a time for that message, surely, because we have had an overwhelmingly successful school year. But it has not been without its challenges. I include the two major public school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas, among those challenges, because when one school community suffers, we all share in their grief and seek ways to eliminate future threats to our students and staff.

In an effort to end the year on a positive note, I have asked our chief of police, Eric Mendez, to increase police presence on every campus. I was pleased to learn from Chief Mendez that the CFPD’s thorough recruiting efforts recently resulted in a fully-staffed police force. This will be a tremendous help in bolstering the protection of each of our 91 campuses and support facilities.

I have also communicated to each principal the need for a strict enforcement of dress code. Through the end of the school year, we are asking that no students wear trench coats or other heavy clothing that could potentially conceal weapons. While we want students to dress in clothing that is comfortable in their learning environment, we feel any extra safety measure that assists our officers and administrators should be utilized.

I ask that you assist us through this transition by communicating these efforts to your students. During these anxious times, vigilance is key.

Thank you for your continued support.

Mark Henry, Ed.D.

Cleveland ISD 

Friends,
CMS posted to refrain from large bags and backpacks until the end of this school year.
Testing is over. Major projects, are over. Major assignments, are over. School isn’t over, however we are winding down, to a degree.
In light of the extremely heartbreaking acts of senseless and ruthless violence against our schools, most recently in Santa Fe, I must agree with the post from CMS.
We are also recommending this throughout the entire District.
We are encouraging students to refrain from using their backpacks for the remainder of the year, if possible.
Also, please know and understand, a much stronger Law Enforcement presence will be at ALL of our CISD Campuses.
Our most sincerest thoughts and prayers continue for those in neighboring Santa Fe ISD.
I know, all of our hearts ache for them, their loss and their struggle to rise above the senseless violence afflicted upon them.
Rex

Bay City ISD

Bay City ISD has increased security presence district-wide as a precautionary measure in light of this morning's event at Santa Fe High School.

Bay City ISD Police Department

Due to the recent horrific act that took place at Santa Fe High School, Bay City ISD PD will be increasing patrols and security checks through the remainder of the school year.
Prayers Santa Fe High School