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How San Antonio school districts' safety procedures have changed after Uvalde

It's been a summer of reckoning for Texas educators and administrators after May's Robb Elementary massacre.
Credit: AP
Police stand watch as guests arrive for the service for Nevaeh Bravo at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Bravo was killed in last week's elementary school shooting. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO — May's Robb Elementary tragedy in Uvalde sparked a summer of mourning for Texans, and also a summer of reckoning for Texas school districts over what can be done to better safeguard the state's youngest residents. 

Community members in Uvalde have placed intense scrutiny on officials there over the past several weeks to ensure another mass shooting tragedy doesn't happen again. 

Meanwhile, at the state level, Gov. Greg Abbott has directed new strategies to bolster school safety – some of which, like so-called "random intruder protection audits," have proven controversial – while other leaders have floated the possibility of hiring armed guards for cafeterias and equipping school police with bulletproof shields.  

As the new school year approaches, we contacted officials at every San Antonio-area district to find out how they're modifying their own safety policies and security procedures. Each one emphasizes a culture of being aware of one's surroundings, and district officials say they encourage students to contact district police or administrators if they see something suspicious. 

Here is what each district told us about other safety plan protocols and changes.

North East ISD

What's continuing

Officials with San Antonio's second-biggest school district say they have taken new steps in recent years to bolster security, including adding "security vestibules" and buzz-in systems at school entrances, locks which need keycards to be accessed, installing perimeter fencing and the enlisting of a third-party company to monitor social media around the clock for potentially concerning posts. 

The district also says anyone in the school community can submit a report of potentially concerning behavior or online posts at neisd.net/tipline. 

Other safety protocols the district continues to emphasize:

  • Routine assessments of where improvements can be made. 
  • Keeping exterior doors locked while tightening protocols for visitors. 
  • The utilization of enhanced cameras. 
  • Utilizing mental health officers. 
  • Continued presence of at least one district police officer at each high school and middle school campus, as well as consistent presence at elementary schools. 

What's changing for 2022-'23

Here are the new steps the district has taken ahead of the new year:

  • Growing the district safety team, with plans "to hire another individual to focus on campus safety and behavior threat assessments."
  • Regular audits of exterior doors. 
  • Continued emphasis of incident response protocols with staff. 
  • A new social media campaign reminding school communities to be vigilant.

Northside ISD

What's continuing

The Alamo City's most populous district continues to utilize "bullet-resistant" lobbies at every elementary school while district police patrol secondary campuses. Officials say they will continue "focusing on the very effective protocols and procedures" already in place. 

What's changing for 2022-'23

The district says it has inspected more than 20,000 doors across its campuses to ensure each is working as it should. 

Here are the other new steps the district has taken ahead of the new year:

  • Spending more time "inspecting various safety aspects at each of our campuses," including lighting, intercom systems and all doors. 
  • Providing "active-threat training" to all students and staff throughout the year.

NISD officials also say they're considering potential future initiatives including expanded policing at elementary campuses and a new monitoring system for online applications. 

San Antonio ISD

What's continuing

  • Annual lockdown drills at each school. 
  • Keeping outside doors and gates "secured at all times."
  • Visitors must be buzzed in by staff, and enter through a secure lobby. 
  • Utilization of a quick-push emergency notification system to alert police in the event of an emergency. 
  • A district police force that has undergone Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training. 

The district will also host a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for parents to ask questions about safety and health protocols ahead of the new year. 

South San ISD

What's continuing

  • Classrooms and exterior doors will stay locked.
  • Limited access to parking lots during school hours. 

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Additional safety training for campus staff. 
  • Additional outside fencing on campuses.

Southside ISD 

What's continuing

  • All students required to use backpacks that are clear or made of mesh material. 
  • Lockdown drills at each campus. 
  • Police presence on all campuses. 
  • Routine checking of doors to ensure they're locked.

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Ballistic vests to be provided to security guards.

Judson ISD

What's changing for 2022-'23

The district's board of trustees has recently given the OK for more district police officers to be hired. In addition:

  • Additional fencing and doorbells at every campus. 
  • Administrative staff members to be trained on Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), and plans for all staff to undergo security and safety training. 
  • Protocol changes to ensure doors are locked and visitor sign-in is monitored. 
  • Implementation of "daily interior and exterior door sweeps, increased safety audits, as well as requiring and enforcing photo IDs to enter our schools for campus events/meetings."

Alamo Heights ISD

What's continuing

The district says it will continue to monitor an anonymous tip line for anyone to report safety concerns. In addition:

  • The use of bullet-resistant security lobbies and single points of entry at every elementary school.  
  • Criminal history checks for every visitors to campus. 
  • 10-foot safety fencing at every campus.
  • Video surveillance systems at every campus.
  • Lockdown protocols that can be activated throughout any building.
  • Regular emergency drills, including evacuation protocols, and annual active-shooter response training for all district employees.
  • Technology to ensure classroom doors "can be locked quickly in case of an emergency."
  • Campus-specific emergency operations plans with detailed staff roles and responsibilities.
  • A mobile crisis response communication system for all staff to use for communication in emergency situations.

Southwest ISD

What's continuing

  • Continued focus on safety that emphasizes intervention and prevention.

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • "Shoring up our school buildings, training and conducting exercises utilizing the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) emergency actions."
  • Bolstering relationships with outside law enforcement.

East Central ISD

What's continuing

District officials continue to emphasize that students and staff speak up and report any suspicious behavior via anonymous tip lines or directly to the district police force at (210)709-808.

  • Police presence at every campus, including daily inspections of security, cameras and single points of entry. 
  • Bullet-resistant glass and doors at entry areas. 
  • Communities In Schools case workers and licensed school psychologists at each campus. 

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Implementation of new technology to streamline drills, as well as emergency response and reunification procedures made easier via mobile devices and intercom systems. 

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD

What's continuing

  • Single points of entry at all schools for visitors, as well as requirement that visitors present photo ID. 
  • Drills and emergency plans for each district.
  • Continued emphasis on reporting suspicious or threatening behavior.  

What's changing for 2022-'23

SCUCISD officials say the district formed a special safety task force in the wake of Uvalde "to review more than 40 suggestions received from within and beyond the district." New safety audits at all campus facilities prior to the start of school, including checks of exterior doors, and students in grades seven through 12 will be required to wear a visible photo ID badge. 

As a result of the task force discussions, the district is implementing the following changes:

  • Additional school resource officers, to bring the district total to 11 and assist in patrolling elementary and middle school campuses daily. 
  • More Schertz and Cibolo police officers patrolling campuses. 
  • Some employees designated to monitor facilities to ensure exterior door are locked and functional, with training from local law enforcement. 
  • Retraining of all campus staff in Standard Response Protocol (SRP), including new hires over the course of the year. 
  • Campuses retrofitted to feature security vestibules at school entrances, as well as additional fencing at outside on-campus facilities, including portable learning units. 
  • Installation of door peepholes at all portable learning units. 
  • Increase of mental health and intervention resources, including additional high school counselors, a new district counselor and another Communities In Schools site coordinator. 

Harlandale ISD

While officials say they don't share details of their safety plan so as not to put campus communities at risk, they did say they're implementing new procedures for entering schools, including mandatory ID. 

"Our police department is fully equipped, trained and ready in case of an emergency," the district added.

Edgewood ISD

What's continuing

  • Single points of entry for visitors, as well as encouraging parents to make appointments before visiting. 
  • Police presence on middle and high school campuses. 

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Police presence on elementary school campuses.
  • Upgraded police radio communications systems, including a new dispatch system akin to SAPD and BCSO. 
  • Revised security plans for each campus. 

Floresville ISD

What's continuing

  • Up-to-date training for district police officers, as well as full-time and armed officers at each campus. 
  • Trainings at each campus involving outside law enforcement agencies. 
  • Video systems to allow school staff to verify visitors' identities prior to entry. 
  • Security vestibules restricting access for visitors upon entry.
  • Routine lockdown drills.  

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Student parking at Floresville High School limited to designated area. 
  • Students in grades 6 and above, as well as all staff, required to wear visible IDs. 
  • Students and staff to be trained on Standard Response Protocol (SRP). 
  • Additional outdoor fencing at each campus. 
  • Checks of all campus doors and locks. 
  • Daily checks of outside doors and gates. 
  • Classroom doors to be locked during school hours. 
  • Secure key card access to restrict access points into schools. 
  • Installation of window screens to limit visibility from the outside. 

Boerne ISD

What's continuing

  • Streamlined protocols for visitors, including single points-of-entry, photo ID requirement and background checks. 
  • District-specific safety committee which works to create and implement emergency response plans, while consulting with outside law enforcement. 

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Expanded team of school resource officers to have a presence on every campus. 
  • New procedures to ensure exterior doors are locked and operational during school hours. 
  • A "comprehensive updating" of existing emergency procedures, in collaboration with the Texas State School Safety Center. 
  • Third-party safety audit for all district facilities and protocols, set to take place in the fall. 

Medina Valley ISD

What's changing for 2022-'23

  • Upgrades to emergency alert system which will "expedite and streamline emergency response," and make it easier to notify law enforcement. 
  • Safety audits conducted at every campus ahead of the new school year, including upgrades to fencing, doors and locks. 
  • New technology requiring students to present a "transportation ID" when they get on and off buses, enabling to know via a mobile app where their child is when heading to and from school.

KENS 5 has also reached out to La Vernia ISD for information on their safety procedures. We are waiting to hear back. 

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