Area school takes ‘additional step’ for safety, others keeping teachers armed
NEW DEAL/LITTLEFIELD, Texas (KCBD) - The return to school means excitement and worry, regarding school safety.
Over the summer Texas passed what is called House Bill 3, which increases safety measures on state campuses. For some small schools that could mean drastic changes.
But, other district administrators feel their plans are already good enough.
“We are doing additional steps to increase security around the campuses as well,” Matt Reed, superintendent of New Deal ISD, said.
Thousands of districts across the state are now legally required to make security changes because of HB 3.
It requires armed guards on all campuses. If that is not possible, trained and licensed staffers fit the parameters through the already existent guardian program.
“We’ve had armed employees on our campuses for, right at 10 years now,” Reed said.
At New Deal, it was just coincidental timing that the school is now putting together its own campus police force. Plans were put together for a police force more than a year-and-a-half ago.
“Having a uniformed police officer, just their presence,” Reed said. “Really everywhere you go now, you see a uniformed police officer. So it only makes sense to have it for our kids and our teachers.”
The goal now, is to have officers hired within the next six-to-eight-weeks.
But for other districts like Littlefield, the current guardian program seems to work just fine.
“We like the program as it is. I’m not saying, in time, we wouldn’t look at it to make changes,” Mitch McNeese, assistant superintendent at Littlefield ISD, said.
Littlefield implemented the program about two years ago.
Like many districts, Littlefield does not reveal what staffers are armed or how many are on each campus. But, administrators feel comfortable in their ability to respond if any situation arises.
“All I know is, with the amount that we have there in the places that we do have them, we made sure that we could respond within a very quick period of time,” McNeese said. “I’m talking 15 seconds, if somebody’s firing, we should be on them immediately.”
It was the massacre in Uvalde in May 2022 that prompted changes and HB 3.
Now, school districts hope these changes give all students a sense of safety.
“We appreciate everybody in our community, we appreciate our parents having faith in bringing your kids to school and everything, knowing that they’re going to be taken care of,” Michael Read, superintendent of Littlefield, said. “Knowing, this is the safest environment I think, in town.”
“There is that sense of heightened security around the school. But it’s the time we live in now,” Reed said.
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