In April, McKinney ISD secured a grant totaling nearly $400,000 from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to supplement the network of safety and security measures in place across the district.
Over the past five years, MISD has bolstered previous safety and security initiatives in ways that include, but are not limited to: more than doubling the number of security cameras across the district, refining staff and student emergency response procedures, adding more school resource officers, introducing hall monitor security personnel at the district’s three high schools, incorporating security vestibules and Aiphone systems at the front entrance of every campus, installing lockdown buttons at every school and quadrupling the number of security cameras on MISD school buses.
As part of the district’s continuous effort to review and enhance safety and security measures with the most up to date systems and practices, MISD’s Safety, Security and Transportation department submitted the grant application to TEA in February after reviewing the proposal with the MISD Safety and Security Committee. The committee is comprised of board members; district and campus administrators; representatives from the McKinney Police Department, McKinney Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management; and members of the community.
“Our first priority is always the safety of our students and staff members,” said Chief Communications and Support Services Officer Cody Cunningham, who oversees the district’s Safety, Security and Transportation department. “Everything else comes after that. While we have great confidence in the safety and security program that we have in place, we always look for opportunities to enhance what we already do and routinely evaluate our practices to ensure that we have created the safest possible learning environment.”
Over the next year, the district will deploy the TEA grant funds to add some 140 security cameras to the approximately 1,600 currently in use around the district. The addition of these devices will provide the district with even greater coverage of MISD campuses.
In addition, the district will refresh its Aiphone entry system, which provides an initial security screen at every MISD campus by allowing school personnel to verbally and visually identify visitors before granting access to the building.
The funds will also allow MISD to place more lockdown buttons at each high school, middle school and elementary school, providing multiple activation location for staff. Along with the buttons, the district will install additional alarm-activated, emergency strobe and sound devices at every campus.
The new security enhancements will include an upgraded, district-wide 24-hour intrusion alarm system. Among its benefits, the new system features remote door monitoring with more refined access control that sends an alert if a door is left open and allows the district to provide more efficient access for emergency responders.
Finally, the grant will provide funds for the district to upgrade its security camera server, which will bring expanded storage of security camera video files and make file retrieval more efficient.
The safety of students and staff remains MISD’s first priority, and in a world that is constantly shifting, measures such as these help the district stay at the forefront of best practices.
And, we can’t think of a more worthwhile investment.
Shane Mauldin is the MISD communications coordinator.