The Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District held a committee meeting Tuesday to solicit feedback on ways to ensure campuses are safe and secure ahead of the upcoming school year.
“We’re way ahead, I would say, (of) any school district in the State of Texas,” said Dr. Mark Henry, the district’s superintendent. “Now, does that mean we’re perfect? No.”
The Safety and Security Committee held its summer semester meeting at the Richard E. Berry Educational Support Center. The committee – which comprises of the superintendent, fire marshal and district police chief, among others -- is required by the state to discuss whether their safety and security measures warrant changes.
“We don’t want for it to be complacent in what we do,” said Cy-Fair ISD Police Department Chief, Eric Mendez. “We always want to look for ways to enhance. The minute we say we’re prepared, something’s going to happen because we become complacent. So every year we are looking at what we can do to change.”
Cy-Fair already had a plan in place prior to the Uvalde school massacre that focuses on prevention, crisis response and identification and intervention. The district requires all students to have an identification badge and for 6th-12th graders to use clear backpacks. Campuses are also equipped with metal detectors and security vestibules with bullet-resistant glass, and outdoor fencing, among other layers of security, said Chief Mendez.
“One of the issues they had in Uvalde is the timing notification of lockdown. Their alert system didn’t work,” Mendez said to the committee.
Mendez said teachers can place emergency calls directly from classrooms and can even initiate campus-wide lockdowns, which are then immediately routed to his department. He added that the district is also installing audible and visual exterior door prop alarms.
“The exterior prop alarms we have been putting those in across the campuses this summer. We’ve already rolled out the high schools,” the chief said. “We’ll finish the middle schools and elementary’s, hopefully, it’s on track to be done by the time school starts.”
The next committee meeting is on August 30.