HOUSTON - It’s all any parent wants: To know that their child is safe when they leave home to go to school.
The safety and security of students and faculty is a top priority for administrators in school districts all across the Houston area.
That’s why officials in area school districts are constantly evaluating the measures they have in place, to make sure they are doing enough to protect everyone.
Here is a look at some of the policies in place for local school districts:
The HISD Police Department holds annual refresher training for its officers on how to respond to an active shooter event rapidly and effectively. In addition to this, in recent months, the HISDPD has released additional safety equipment to its officers as a tactical response to potential armed assailants on campus.
Fort Bend ISD:
The Fort Bend ISD Police Department undergoes extensive training for all kinds of scenarios, including active shooter situations. Every FBISD officer participates in active shooter training on an annual basis.
FBISDPD regularly coordinates with other jurisdictional partners to ensure the safety of its students, staff and community.
Fort Bend ISD has a full-time emergency management coordinator who is responsible for ensuring all staff and students are prepared for any kind of emergency.
In the last few years, FBISD has invested millions of dollars in safety upgrades and enhancements included in the 2014 bond program. In all, $27 million was allocated for vestibules at all campuses, security camera upgrades, additional card reader access points, video intercom systems and emergency generators. The third and final phase of design and construction of security vestibules is underway, and by the end of 2018, all FBISD campuses will have security vestibules at each entrance.
Clear Creek ISD:
Clear Creek ISD has a fully staffed Safe & Secure Schools division, led by a veteran security advisor for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Staff is well trained in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Incident Management system and also partners with the Texas School Safety Center.
CCISD hired a third-party safety company to audit elementary schools immediately after the tragic shootings in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The yearlong audit and campus assessments were presented to the Board of Trustees during the February 2014 general meeting. The board approved $1.8 million in capital improvements to further enhance the physical security inside and around elementary schools. Of the committed funds, CCISD has expended $1,442,378 to date on upgrades described in this report, leaving a balance of $392,164 for future safety improvements.
At Katy ISD, response to school violence continues to evolve as each incident is analyzed.
Until very recently, the protocol was to lockdown schools.
Katy ISD continues to use lockdowns; however, an improved model is also being used that gives staff implicit responsibility to take action to protect themselves and those for whom they are responsible.
The model is known as Run, Hide, Fight.
The concept is described in a video produced by the City of Houston as a tool to help survive violence. The video can be viewed here. http://www.readyhoustontx.gov/runhidefightenglish.html
CFISD installed bullet-resistant glass at the main entry windows at its campuses.
The district had $4.2 million allocated for the high-tech glass.
The upgrades also included secured front entrances with buzzer door releases, security vestibules and added security cameras, card reader access points and “lockdown” panic buttons.
In total, all security implements will be completed by December 2018.
Lockdown: This is a procedure used when there is an immediate threat to the school. Lockdown minimizes access to the school and secures staff and students in rooms. As part of this procedure, everyone must remain in whatever room they're in until the situation has been declared safe by an authorized person such as a police officer. Depending on the circumstances, persons with proper identification may be allowed to enter and exit the building.
Secure the Building: This is a precaution used to isolate students and staff inside the school from potential dangers outside the school such as criminal activity in the community. Campus staff will bring all children inside (including those in temporary buildings), secure the exterior doors and monitor the situation, preventing unauthorized visitors into the school.
Shelter in Place: This is a precaution aimed to keep students and staff safe while remaining indoors. Situations that may require the campus to shelter in place include natural disasters, severe weather, accidental or intentional release of chemical, biological or radiological material, or an emergency situation in the community. Depending on the circumstances, persons with proper identification may be allowed to enter and exit the building. Students may be kept beyond normal school hours, with or without HVAC. Food and drinks will be made available if students are kept over an extended time.
Reunification: This is a procedure used when the school is evacuated or closed as a result of a hazardous materials transportation accident, major fire, natural gas leak, localized flash flooding, school violence, bomb threat or terrorist attack. A designated location will be established for parents to reunite with their children following an emergency. This reunification site may be at the school or it may be at an alternative location in cases where the school building has been evacuated.
Reverse Evacuation: This is a procedure to move students and staff inside a facility when it would be dangerous to remain outside. Situations that may require the campus to shelter in place include severe weather (tornado), armed aggressor, aggressive animal or a hazardous materials event near the school.
Spring Branch ISD:
Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.