Joint statement regarding LISD school safety

Joint statement regarding LISD school safety
Posted on 02/16/2018

DISTRICT NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Christina Courson, Public Information Officer

(512) 398-0033 office

(512) 738-1413 cell

Christina.Courson@lockhart.txed.net


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Date: February 16, 2018

JOINT STATEMENT FROM LOCKHART ISD, LOCKHART POLICE DEPARTMENT, LOCKHART FIRE DEPARTMENT, AND CALDWELL COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

As the nation watched the news of the horror this week in Parkland, Florida, each of us is reminded that no community is immune from the unfortunate possibility of a school shooting. We are all saddened by the tremendous loss of precious lives this week and those lost in other school shootings in recent years. As a community, we understand the immediate concern is for our students and staff and what is in place to help keep them safe.

It would compromise safety to share the specific details of safety protocol; however, the LISD Safety Task Force, comprised of representatives of the Lockhart Police Department, Lockhart Fire Department, Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management, and LISD would like to provide what we can safely share about what is in place to help keep our Lockhart Lions safe.

Training
The LISD Safety Task Force works cooperatively and maintains regular communication about safety planning and ongoing safety concerns throughout the year. There is an Emergency Operation Procedure (EOP) at every school for a range of possible scenarios including, but not limited to, natural disasters, fires, chemical spills, intruders, and active shootings.

LISD staff are trained annually on these emergency campus plans, and staff and students practice safety drills, including lockdown drills, which would be used in the situation of an active shooter. Each campus conducts lockdown drills twice per school year.

Additional Security Staff
In response to stakeholder feedback, the LISD recommended and the LISD Board of Trustees approved the addition of another school resource officer for the 2017-2018 school year. Now, both Lockhart High School and Lockhart Junior High School have school resources officers, who are Lockhart Police Department officers, stationed at the campuses to monitor and enforce campus safety. In addition to their training as law enforcement officers, they are trained on emergency campus plans and get specialized school resource officer training. They remain in close communication and collaboration with other area emergency responders.

Safety Infrastructure
With funds from the 2014 Bond, the district upgraded campus entries with secured vestibules in older campuses to ensure every single campus has a secured vestibule to restrict entry into the building. Construction occured over the last two summers and was completed before the beginning of this school year.

With the installation of the new secured vestibules at Navarro, Plum Creek, and Carver came the new ability for a campus administrator to push an access control button and immediately lock the front doors of every campus at the same time. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, district administrators decided to install this feature on every campus. Installation has begun, and the project is expected to be completed by the end of spring break, Friday, March 16. When the administration moves into the M.L. Cisneros building after renovation is complete, the district will have this access control button installed at the administration building, providing the same ability to lock every campus front door when engaged.

The new network security cameras installed in Lockhart High School and Strawn Elementary 2016-2017 were also rolled out to the rest of the school district and installation completed prior to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Footage from these new cameras is accessible by campus administrators and can be viewed district-wide by district administrators and school resource officers on district computers, laptops, and smartphones. These cameras hold storage up to three months and are all fully operational and online.

The school district purchased updated radios in the 2016-2017 school year with a broader range of communication capability. The radios easily allow for users to join channels with other campuses and administrators for instant communication.

LISD has buttons on its district page labeled “Report Bullying” and “Quick Tip.” Anyone, including students, can submit concerns about bullying or safety issues through this feature. The public information officer receives every tip submitted and immediately routes concerns to the appropriate administrator for response. Tips may be submitted with identifying information or anonymously. Students and parents both use these reporting features to raise concerns.

LISD Safety Collaboration
The LISD Safety Task Force conducted a district-wide safety and security audit in August 2017 to identify potential safety concerns and make recommendations. Safety auditors included Lieutenant Chris Knudsen of the Lockhart Police Department, former interim Lockhart Fire Chief Jerry Doyle, Caldwell County Emergency Management Coordinator Chief Martin Ritchey, and Deputy Superintendent and LISD Safety Coordinator Kimberly Brents. The audit also involved feedback from campus crisis management teams as well as specialized groups such as nurses, teachers, office staff, and counselors. The district presented a safety and security update to the LISD Board of Trustees at the Regular Board meeting Monday, October 23, 2017.

Additionally, LISD is part of a special program funded by the National Institute of Justice through a $4.3 million grant via the Texas School Safety Center which studies a process of integrating law enforcement officers into educational settings. The study takes place over a two-year period and will help to inform future recommendations specific to law officers in schools for safety and positive school climate.

The safety and security of our students and staff is paramount, requires vigilant effort and is something that the LISD Safety Task Force members, and staff they work with, address on a daily basis. For this reason, the communication and collaboration between LISD and all of the local law enforcement and emergency entities is ongoing throughout the year. Because the task force will never feel satisfied the plans in place are ever enough, the work of updating training, infrastructure, and best practices is also ongoing. We are committed, together, to work to help keep our Lions safe.

If you have any questions about school safety, please contact Deputy Superintendent Kimberly Brents at Kimberly.Brents@lockhart.txed.net.

Click here for a printable version of the joint statement. 



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