• December 26, 2014

Local schools use variety of safety, security measures

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Posted: Sunday, May 25, 2014 4:30 am

Public schools use a variety of practices and procedures intended to promote the safety of students and staff.

In 2013, a U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics School Survey on Crime and Safety asked public school principals about their schools’ use of safety and security measures and procedures.

The survey revealed that schools have adopted certain practices, such as locked or monitored doors or gates, that are intended to limit or control access to school campuses.

Other measures, such as metal detectors, security cameras and limiting access to social networking websites, are intended to monitor or restrict students’ and visitors’ behavior on campus, according to the survey.

Ramona Bellard, a spokeswoman for Killeen Independent School District, said all campuses have surveillance cameras in place.

In the 2009-2010 school year, 43 percent of schools reported the presence of one or more security guards, security personnel, school resource officers or sworn law enforcement officers at their school at least once a week during the school year, according to the survey.

Bellard said Killeen ISD police officers are assigned to high schools and patrol middle schools and other areas as necessary.

Drills

John Dye, Killeen ISD director for school safety, said all school campuses perform emergency drill exercises on a regular basis for natural- or weather-related situations as well as man-made incidents such as active shooters. First responders in each of the district’s attendance zones are trained in active-shooter response action.

The district’s active-shooter response procedures follow recommended actions of the Texas School Safety Center. Training items include the Texas attorney general’s training video “When Seconds Count.”

Emergency response procedures are constantly reviewed, Dye said. After every emergency situation, after-action reviews are conducted and modifications are made accordingly.

Currently, the district is conducting State of Texas mandated “School Safety and Security Audits” at each campus. These safety audits include all segments of campus safety and security, both inside and outside structures.

Additionally, the district is conducting thorough evaluations of campus architectural structures as related to “Safety through Architectural Planning.”

Trent Terrell, assistant professor and chairman of psychology at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, said the problem with preventive measures is it’s often hard to tell the difference between “disordered” behavior or “just kids being kids.” Some of the best things faculty and community members can do is to be mindful of the potential and report any behavior that seems suspicious, he said.

“The cases of shootings, in which everyone was completely surprised and didn’t see signs beforehand, are rare.”

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