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'It takes all of us' I North East ISD ramps up security measures ahead of first day of school

NEISD Police Chief Wally McCampbell said the district is working on ways to provide more surveillance at all exterior doors.

SAN ANTONIO — Thousands of children in San Antonio are going back to school next week, which includes students from North East ISD, a district that’s spent the summer working to enhance safety protocols.

“There’s going to be, I have a feeling, some anxiety, some apprehension with coming back to school that first week, but what I think that’s important is that they come back,” said NEISD Police Chief Wally McCampbell.

The anxiety comes from the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers just days before summer break.

McCampbell stressed the district is proactively reviewing current safety measures as they always do but with a heightened mindset.

“What we do is to ensure that we have the best possible plan in place for every single day to ensure the safety of our kids,” McCampbell said.

The district has worked on enhancing security cameras, installing perimeter fencing and hiring additional mental health police officers.

The district also completed an audit on security protocols surrounding school exterior doors. One of the goals remains to figure out how to go about improving surveillance in these areas.

“Because what that would be able to do is allow us to send notifications to principals and officers that work at the campus to let them know to say hey this door has been open for three minutes,” McCampbell said.  

Each classroom door is equipped with a magnet locked on the door frame so that the lock doesn’t lock in place each time the door is closed, but if there is a lockdown, the teacher can quickly move the magnet and just close the door.

But Wally noted it’s going to take everyone to help prevent potential threats, which is why North East ISD is urging students, staff and parents to report any suspicious activity.

The district works with third-party company to monitor social media and forward concerning posts to the NEISD Police Department.

“What I need is faculty, students, parents, provide us information and that gives me the opportunity to have my officers start looking into it. Without them, by the time we get involved it’s too late.”  

NEISD is the only school district in San Antonio with an officer assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. In the future, the district intends on hiring an expert on behavior threat assessments.

The first day of school is Aug. 10.

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