Dallas schools review safety procedures
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, parents in Dallas began wondering about the safety of local schools. While authorities have announced plans to install additional Dallas security cameras throughout the city, educators are looking into security cameras and other safety measures that will allow police to monitor the activity in local schools. Days after the tragedy, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Irving Superintendent Dana Bedden called on local school districts to review safety procedures, and discuss new steps to be taken, according to The Dallas Morning News.
"A lot is being done to keep schools safe in Texas," Victoria Calder, director of Texas School Safety Center, told The News. "Every school must have an emergency plan that's updated regularly, and schools work collaboratively with first responders - police and fire - to develop that plan."
The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) provides training, research and technical assistance skills to allow schools to maintain successful security programs. TxSSC imposes strict security standards on schools around Texas, and requires all districts to be prepared for emergency situations that may arise. Many of these districts, including several located in Dallas, have established drills that they run regularly so that teachers and students will have a plan of action should an incident like a shooting occur. Although the system is unable to prevent a shooting, the drill tactics can save lives and help authorities locate a suspect in a quicker fashion.
The safety standards in effect in Texas include:
Training employees in how to respond during an emergency:
- Implementing a multi-hazard emergency operations plan that can be used during natural disasters and human-invoked threats
- Crafting a safety and security committee to watch over each specific school
- Running a Texas School Safety Center safety and security audit every three years to get valuable feedback on the district's security plans
- Conducting mandatory drills that will prepare all students, teachers and school employees for how to respond during an emergency
"I don't know that there is a way to 100 percent guarantee any place to not be vulnerable - whether it is a workplace, place of worship or a school," Clint Bond, spokesman of the Fort Worth school district, told the source. "But you do the best you can, and you try to encourage people to remain vigilant."