Lubbock ISD confident in school safety procedures as TEA requires summer steps
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The deadline for Texas school districts to take the Texas Education Agency’s School Safety Action Steps is Sept 1. Lubbock ISD Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo told KCBD only one step not complete will be done by the first day of school.
“The only thing that we had not done was schedule out our drills for the year,” Rollo said. “We usually do that at the campus level as we go. That’s one thing that we have put into place and we’re getting those scheduled right now for the entire year.”
In the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Governor Abbott directed the TEA to require districts to take certain steps over the summer, believed to make schools safer. The steps include:
- Conduct a Summer Targeted Partial Safety Audit
- Conduct an Exterior Door Safety Audit
- Convene the Local Education Agency’s Safety and Security Committee to review: the multi-hazard emergency operations plan (EOP) and, as a component of the EOP, the LEA’s active threat plan
- Ensure all campus staff (including substitutes) are trained on their specific LEA and campus safety procedures
- Schedule all mandatory drills for the school year
- Ensure all threat assessment team members are trained
- Review and, if necessary, update access control procedures For the new school year, access control procedures must include exterior door sweeps (ensuring doors are closed and locked) at every instructional facility at least once each week while instruction is being conducted.
According to Rollo, Lubbock ISD had either scheduled or planned to conduct those steps over the summer, with the exception of the drill schedule.
“We are confident in our plans,” Dr. Rollo said. “One of the things that we also do is monitor and so we’ll continue to monitor the implementation of the protocols that we’ve put in place to ensure that our staff and students are as safe as possible.”
Rollo told KCBD the exterior door audit helped identify necessary repairs and fixes, which are done. She says the district continues to harden campuses, which stems from a 2018 bond proposal allocating $50 million for such projects.
“The vast majority of those have been completed, not all,” Rollo said. “All of them will be done, hopefully, by the end of next summer. Those were construction projects we can only do during the summer when we don’t have students and staff in the buildings. It just takes time to get those completed. However, all of our buildings do have one entrance, it is locked.”
Over the last four years, she said, interior doors have also been locked.
Lubbock ISD will make a change to its Standard Response Protocol, which has also been in place over the previous four years. The term “lockout” will change to “secure” to avoid confusion with “lockdown.”
“Lockout means there’s some activity in the neighborhood,” Rollo said. “We make sure all of the students are inside. Then we don’t let anyone in the building for a period of time until the all clear is made. That is very different from a lockdown, which means there’s an active threat in the building.”
Another change for the new year is the addition of Stop The Bleed kits in every classroom.
Dr. Rollo said Lubbock ISD will maintain its charge to provide a safe environment for learning but it will require the help of staff and the community.
“We’ve looked through our protocols through the lens of what we’ve learned from the Uvalde incident,” Rollo said. “We’re confident that we’re in a good place. I want to reassure our parents and our students and our staff that there is a reason why we do the things we do. It’s important that if you see something to say something. We have a reporting app that we use called Stopit or you can simply let an administrator know but we need the community to help us with that. If you see a door propped open, we need to know about that because that’s not following our protocols and we want to make sure that we intervene as quickly as possible to make sure everyone is safe.”
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