It's less than a week until most Lubbock kids return to class, and safety is at the front of everyone's mind.
"We've got an officer assigned to each campus," said Lubbock Cooper ISD Chief of Police Rick Saldana. "With my years of experience, I'm one of those believers that there can't be enough safety. I would like to think that our police department, our police officers are ready, willing and able to engage any situation that's going to make a tranquil environment for our students."
Lubbock Cooper ISD decided to hire the extra police officers last year.
"I thought it was an excellent move and I'm very proud that our superintendent and school board went for the idea and followed through with it," he said. "We play a dual role. On one hand, we're there to enforce law, we're there to keep order. On the other hand, we're there for our students, and our officers do an outstanding job in creating a personal relationship with our students."
Each year, the officers take special training classes to make sure they're ready for anything.
"We upgrade our safety protocols. These include anything from fire drill response, intruder, active shooter response... We upgrade policies and of course all these policies are approved through the superintendent," Saldana said.
Lubbock ISD will have closed campus lunches at all high schools, something they believe will help LISD police.
"It's going to be much easier to control everybody staying on campus and that's going to be a good thing," said LISD Director of Communications Nancy Sharp. "Our goal has always been to make sure our students are in the safest environment possible. We've had a lot of things as far as security cameras, controlled access points, closed lunches - many things over the years provided by the bond to be able to provide the very safest environments we can for our campuses."
One of the main factors in their decision was a comment made by a parent that resonated with the school board.
"The parent said this is the only time of day, at lunch time, that I don't know where my student is. I don't know where my child is and so we felt like it was really a safety issue to make sure we had our campuses closed at lunch," Sharp said.
Director of Public Relations for Frenship ISD Andy Penney says at the end of the year the school board decided to review their safety process. They were happy with the results and will continue the same policies.
These include safe and secure entrances which funnel all guests into the office, where they hand over a driver's license and a background check is performed. They also have closed lunches and Penney says safety is a priority for school administrators.
Levelland ISD also made a major security decision this week. The school board voted to allow teachers to carry concealed firearms on campus. There is no set date for when that will begin, but it's expected by second semester.
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