School districts have plans in place in the event of an emergency
In light of another shooting at a school that occurred last week in Parkland, Fla., claiming 17 lives, area school districts reviewed their protocols to keep students safe.
Those safety measures have been refined over the years and include not just limiting access to school buildings, but detailed procedures addressing how to respond to threats on a campus.
The Safety and Security Committee for the 15,000-student Wylie Independent School District met Thursday, Feb. 15 to discuss the Florida school shooting and review suggestions the district already has received from residents on how to improve safety.
“Anytime something like this happens, lessons can be learned,” Ian Halperin, WISD Executive Director of Communications, said. “We look for practical, sustainable solutions.”
The first line of defense is controlling access to schools. Exterior doors to campuses remain locked at all times with access granted only through the school office where identification is checked before a visitor is admitted. Plano Independent School District, which has more than 55,000 students, goes one step further, requiring communication through an intercom and video system before admission to the school office.
Limiting access to buildings was the first security step initiated by schools in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado that claimed 13 lives.
“Ever since Columbine, things have changed,” Murphy Police Chief Arthur Cotten said. Cotten made the time to visit every school campus in Murphy the day after the Florida shooting.