Dallas ISD Proposed Security Upgrades after Sandy Hook Elementary Incident Part 2

According to the Dallas Morning News, on February 14, 2013, Valentine’s Day, Dallas ISD trustees showed their love and support for security upgrades for 150 Dallas ISD elementary schools.

During their discussion about a plan to improve campus safety, trustees indicated that they would be in favor of a $4.65 million plan this month that calls for buzzers on main entrances, security cameras throughout the schools and card readers on side doors.

“We want our schools to be inviting,” said trustee Nancy Bingham, during the board meeting. “But, this is a different climate these days. It cannot be inviting to the point where they can feel like they can come in and drag a teacher out of the classroom.”

Bingham requested that police provide more-frequent, emergency-preparedness training in schools, due to the fact that it has been six years since such training has been conducted. However, this training lacked the suggestions of two, politician-advocated recommendations: arming teachers with guns and adding officers to campuses. Dallas ISD Police Chief, Craig Miller, rebutted, “Both are unreasonable and unnecessary. Teachers should be focused on educating, and elementary schools don’t see enough crime to warrant a full-time officer.”

Dallas ISD’s Police Department is staffed with 125 officers, enabling at least one to be assigned to every secondary school, and security personnel are also used on campuses. Along with assistance from the Dallas Police Department, DISD officers patrol Dallas’ 225 schools throughout the day. Mike Miles, Dallas ISD superintendent, actually suggested hiring 10 new officers before the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

The proposal at a glance

  • $2.59 million – cost for twenty-three secondary schools, mostly middle schools, to receive camera systems, allowing DISD police to watch live.
  • $930,000 – cost for each elementary school to receive an eight-camera, motion-activated security system monitored at the school, not able to be viewed live, offsite.
  • $600,000 – cost for card readers to be installed at some side doors, portable buildings and staff parking lots, allowing doors to be opened only when swiped by an identification badge.
  • $405,000 – cost for each elementary school to receive a buzzer, intercom and camera system, requiring the front desk receptionist to unlock the door for visitors.
  • $120,000 – cost for the installation of one-way peepholes on all 1,200 portable buildings, allowing people inside to see out.

At another school

Just as Dallas ISD is buckling down on school security, so are the schools in Grove, Oklahoma, with a population of more than 6,500 people and about 2,570 students enrolled in the district.

Parents and teachers have been participating in fundraisers to pay for additional security at the community’s six campuses. They plan to use the money to purchase security cameras, door security systems and to pay for a second school resource officer. 

Officials have suggested placing four cameras in the Early Childhood Center and up to six cameras at the Lower Elementary campus, with buzz-in door systems for the high school and middle school campuses. Currently, the district relies on Tracy Bloss, a Grove police officer, as a school resource officer, but a substitute resource officer has been hired until the end of the school year, giving the district two, on-duty, police officers during school hours. Police have been called in the past, specifically on January 11, 2012 because of a grade school student’s off-the-cuff comment of threatening to bring a gun onto a school bus, resulting in no gun and no injuries.

Local businesses and charities are also hosting fundraisers to assist the schools of Grove. Earlier this month, a local restaurant hosted school administrators to cook, clean and accept tips, while proceeds from all beverage sales on that day were given to the school district.  A total of $500 was collected.

Coming on March 2, 2013, the Grand Lake Family YMCA will be hosting a 5k run/walk, “Steps for Safe Schools,” with all proceeds going to assist the school in funding its security efforts. The event will start at the Grove School Administration Building, circle the community and finish back at the administration building.

Reflected here are two school districts, fighting for the safety and security of their children, teachers, and staff. It hurts my heart to know that schools across the nation are so fearful of the unknown, all with good reason, based on recent events. Thinking about my school days, I remember feeling so safe and secure on my school campus, from Kindergarten all the way through high school, and I truly wonder how the children of today will be affected in the future with all this talk of school shootings, murder, guns, police, etc.

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