I have had multiple questions from parents and other concerned community members regarding school safety since the unfortunate school attack in Florida.
Posted by Kelly Lusk on 3/2/2018
In May I will have completed my 18th year as an administrator. I take pride in the fact that student safety has always been my top priority and that I haven't lost a child under my care. I am the first to admit that school operations and the hazards we face on a daily basis, fires, tornados, lockdowns, snatchings, custody battles, verbal threats, transportation issues, fights, drugs, etc. can seem daunting at times. But, as administrators, we gain invaluable experience over the years in handling unique situations. That is where safety starts and we currently have three quality administrators at Tom Bean that are excellent in managing chaos. I have no doubt that they, and our teachers, will act appropriately in a crisis situation.
To get a bit more specific about the Italy, Tx and Florida shootings and the guns that have been taken from students in the D/FW metroplex recently, I would offer the following in hopes that it may ease your worries.
- As tragic as school shootings are, statistically, they are rare. Many situations are avoided by student vigilance and administrator actions.
- Having said that, we must constantly be vigilant and prepared as these situations could happen anywhere at any time, and we should not kid ourselves that Tom Bean is encapsulated in a glass bubble.
- The elementary was built with controlled access in mind. All of the doors are locked at all times and have a controlled access front entryway. The playground is fenced.
- We do have a camera system at the secondary campuses.
- We have an alarm monitoring system on all three campuses.
- We have in the past, and will continue, to pursue and discipline anyone posting threats on social media.
- Some of our safety improvements since I have arrived at Tom Bean 13 months ago:
- Provided for a police presence at all High School football and basketball games.
- Established relations with our local police force to invite them onto our campuses during school hours.
- Entered into a co-op with a local district to provide an alternative school setting for students with discipline or safety issues. We have assigned multiple students to this DAEP and/or our Special Ed Behavior Adjustment Unit (which was already in place) in my time here. I cannot get into the specifics of the assignments but I can say that none of them involved guns/knives.
- Completed the District of Innovation (DOI) process. One of the policies in this DOI process includes giving the Principal the authority to immediately revoke the transfer status of a student who has had either multiple or severe discipline issues.
- Re-routed traffic from between the HS and MS and improved the bus loading/unloading procedures.
- Provided an anonymous procedure for students to report bullying at the secondary campuses.
Since the shootings in Florida, I have met with the TB Chief of Police. He brought several ideas to us that I hope to pursue in the near future.
In summary, I don't think anyone can guarantee another's safety 100% of the time but we are not going to put our head in the sand and ignore issues. We will continue to monitor and make all improvements of which we are capable.
The truth is our community and our students also must have a stake in the game by reporting any and all concerns to us. Remind your children how important it is to immediately report any safety concern, including prohibited items, safety-related rumors, threatening online activity and/or suspicious behavior they observe. It is critical that all of us be watchful for any warning signs that may come to light on social media or in everyday conversation so that violence can be prevented.
Parents with suggestions or concerns related to school security are encouraged to contact their campus principal or myself.