Enhanced security procedures at Hale Center Independent School District have some parents outraged and claim they are an infringement of their rights.
Hale Center ISD Superintendent, Carl Krug joined the district last June and was notified by a board member that the entrance could leave students and faculty vulnerable to an intruder.
Parents are no longer allowed to walk their children to class. Instead, parents must enter through the new entrance, which is next to the secretary's office. They are allowed to eat breakfast with their children in the cafeteria. Students are escorted to class by faculty members either from the new entrance or the cafeteria. These new security measures have Paula McGee, the mother of a kindergartner who attends Aikin Elementary, ready to move out of the district.
"I think they're trying to make it a fortress and you can't do that," said McGee. "You can't keep the boogey man out and the parents."
These controversial security plans were in the works even before the Newtown Connecticut shooting occurred.
"What happened in Connecticut just sped up the process for us," said Krug.
Other districts are considering less drastic security measures.
Rise Academy is a charter school in Lubbock. There is open discussion among board members to possibly hire armed officers on campus.
The school had to deal with a frightening hostage situation on campus back in 2011, which ultimately changed the way Superintendent Richard Baumgartner protects his staff and students. "A deranged individual took 4 hostages in our office building at knife point and fortunately, that situation resolved itself without injury, but it could have been a lethal situation," said Baumgartner.
Supported by Texas Penal Code 4603 Section (a), Baumgartner and the School Board decided that Baumgartner would be the only staff member to carry a firearm on campus.
Hale City ISD has not has not hired any armed officers. However, Terry Timms is a parent of a 3rd grader at Aiken Elementary and is also the Hale County Constable. He patrols the school armed every morning.McGee said the Constable's temporary presence is not enough and the answer does not lie in prohibiting parents from walking their children to class.
"I know they're trying," said McGee, "but when you have 4 and 5 year olds you should still be allowed to walk them to your class to make sure they get there safely, to see their artwork that they put in the hallway, to see the things they make and to talk to their teachers every day."
These new safety measures are enough for McGee to actually move out of the district.
Her child will attend school at Lubbock Cooper ISD, where each campus has an armed officer.
Krug said he is currently under discussion with the School Board regarding the possibility of the addition of armed officers on campus.
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