During a work session Tuesday, Matt Garrett, director of safety and security for Lewisville ISD updated the Board of Trustees on ongoing security measures.
The majority of the efforts are a result of recommendations made by a safety task force that met last fall, and 10 items were brought to LISD’s leadership team for consideration.
The highest-scoring item was mental health training for staff. Garrett said all campus staff members have received training as part of their professional development last month. There will be online follow-ups during the school year, including trauma informed classrooms, and an evaluation will take place in the spring to fine tune anything in the future.
The second-highest scoring item was ID badges for all high school and middle school badges. This year is also a pilot year for elementary schools to have IDs. Garrett said eight elementary schools have photo ID badges, and general IDs are being printed out for the rest of the campuses.
“We really wanted to experiment with them to see what works,” Garrett said, adding that it’s more difficult for elementary students to keep up with their badges.
Garrett said the district is looking into radio frequency identification, as well as location services to help track if the student is on a bus or got off a bus. He said LISD is also exploring the possibility of tying in the ID badge program with library and lunch accounts.
Garrett said even though recently legislation requires it, LISD was ahead of the curve with enhanced internal behavior threat assessment tools.
LISD is using a three-tiered review system modeled after programs that are working in other districts, and campus teams are in place at every location.
“After we do more and more threat reviews I think you’re going to start getting a lot more reviews from campuses, and we’ve gotten things from our local law enforcement that they want to tweak,” Garrett said, adding that the plan will evolve. “And that’s exactly what we want.”
He said campus support for supervision and safety plans are new, but much of the protocol has already been in place.
Garrett said the district began overnight security monitoring in the district in April. He said while the program is fully staffed there is high turnover. Garrett said the program has been successful as there have been multiple times when law enforcement has been contacted after an issue occurred.
Garrett said law enforcement led active shooter training for all staff members throughout August, and only a few campuses still need the training. He said updated materials and scenario-based training will be a focus in the future.
Garrett said the 35-minute program allows staff to ask questions, which he said has been beneficial.
“This is important you can use anywhere,” Garrett said. “We don’t want them to think this is focused solely on school situations.”
LISD is also using an enhanced canine detection service this year. Garrett said this includes two dogs per visit, which helps reduce “false hits.” He said all of the handlers coming in are current or former law enforcement officials.
Garrett said LISD is also exploring classroom door security but said the project is significant in scope and will likely require design professionals to implement. He said discussions are still needed for specifics on that plan.
“My thing is that we can’t slow down the first responders,” Garrett said. “So we have to find that balance.”
Joseph Coburn, chief schools officer, said a locked classroom door is still the most powerful deterrent. He said LISD has inside locking classroom doors in all of its classrooms.
“Those locked classroom doors do more to keep our students safe against anyone who were to come in and want to do harm than anything else,” Coburn said.
LISD has installed curfew signs around its facilities, and overnight security monitors are watching playgrounds for group activity.
Coburn said the district has implemented regulations on deliveries for students to the campuses.
“It is no doubt safer,” Coburn said. “We have a lot more controls in place over what is coming in and out of the buildings.”
Garrett said this year is a review year for the armed security personnel at the elementary schools. All of LISD’s middle schools have school resource officers, and they each cover two or three elementary schools.
Garrett said security vestibules are nearly complete at all campuses.