Texas Education Agency encourages schools to consider safety opt - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Texas Education Agency encourages schools to consider safety options

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CCISD already has police officers on campus and will increase active shooter drills. CCISD already has police officers on campus and will increase active shooter drills.

Public school districts and charter schools in Texas are being urged to take a closer look at their safety measures. That includes possibly arming employees on school campuses.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath wants districts and charter schools to talk about school safety at their next school board meeting. Morath also also outlined some safety options that he says should be discussed at those meetings

CCISD officials agree it is an important conversation. 

"One of our foremost concerns is always school safety for our children.We want our parents and the community to know that their kids are safe when they're at school," school board member Janie Bell said. 

To ensure that, the TEA wants school boards to consider several security options. Those include hiring a resource officer, having on-campus police, bringing in private security, and increasing security *equipment. 

Another consideration is arming teachers. 

CCISD school board member Tony Diaz is against that idea. 

"There is no way that I can approve, sanction, support the idea of teachers having a gun in school, even with training. Their job is to teach," Diaz said. 

Kirby Warnke, Chief of CCISD Police, also says arming teachers is not necessary because the district has its own police department. 

"Instead of having someone secretly having a gun, they put someone in a uniform, that's a commissioned peace officer highly trained. We're very proactive. we've already been doing this for a long time," Chief Warnke said. 

District leaders say CCISD is already practicing many of the TEAs recommendations, like updating old buildings with new security technology. 

"Through our recent bond elections we have been putting safety enhancements through the entry to the school, so you have to go through a bullet proof entry and then go through the office. You just can't be a visitor that can walk in," Bell said. 

There are a few changes the district has decided to implement since the Florida shooting. There will be more active shooter trainings, and more lock down and shelter in place drills. 

"We're going to be enhancing that, doubling the number of drills we do for next year," Chief Warnke said. 

Diaz has some of his own ideas for enhancing security. One is building gyms in elementary schools so that students will not be exposed to risk by playing outside. Another is creating a system where students, teachers and staff can email in their security ideas. 

The school board will get a safety update from Chief Warnke and discuss some of these ideas at their next meeting on March 26th. 

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